Who would be a politician? As soon as Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison weighed in on the Novak Djokovic problem, all sorts of people, including commentators who are paid to think, decided the issue had become "political".
By that, they meant to imply Morrison's motives for intervening were merely self-serving and that if he had not somehow created the mess he was now exploiting it for his own purposes. This is election year in Australia, when everything is liable to be seen through a partisan prism, but "politics" is too easily blamed everywhere at any time an event has everybody talking.
Everybody is expected to form an opinion about it and blaming politics is the refuge of those too lazy to try to resolve the issues themselves or who don't want disagreement in the conversation. It usually goes unchallenged even when it is plainly wrong.
Morrison intervened because somebody had to. The outcry heard all across Australia the day Djokovic announced he had been given an exemption from vaccination by Tennis Australia spelled big trouble if the world number one appeared at the Australian Open. As one woman columnist wrote, "We are nice, laid-back people - until we are not."
The decision did not just offend their vaccination effort, it was an affront to their sense of fair play, the kind of privilege Australians detest. Whatever a "medical exemption" from vaccination means, it was hard to believe it applied to a superbly fit athlete.
It was all too obvious the tournament organisers and its supportive state government had gone too far to accommodate the defending champion. Nobody could predict what could happen if he played in Melbourne but it could not be good.
If you are Prime Minister and you realise somebody has to do something, it's fairly clear who that somebody is. Djokovic was on his way to Australia and social media were deluged with demands that when he arrived he be put on the next plane out. That Morrison could do, border control is a federal responsibility.
But next morning when it was learned Djokovic had been barred at the airport, his visa documents found deficient, and he was in detention pending deportation, the tennis player began to receive sympathy - from Serbian Australians mainly but not only them.
Some Australians, such as tennis brat Nick Kyrgios who had been scathing of Djokovic's anti-vax stand a day earlier, now decided his treatment was inhuman. Morrison was probably not surprised, politicians know they will sometimes be damned if they do and damned if they don't.
Djokovic meanwhile was going to court and, as New Zealand well knows, it takes a long time to deport someone who has lawyers. The court found Djokovic had met the visa's requirements, which put the ball back in Morrison's court. His Minister of Immigration still had statutory discretion to revoke the visa but would need to find a reason that could withstand a legal challenge.
The court hearing had thrown up some issues the minister could use, involving Djokovic's previous infections, his contacts in Serbia while infected and his faulty travel declaration. But these issues were taking the story into thickets of disputed detail that obscured the reason he should not be in the Australian Open.
A poll this week reported 90 per cent of Australians wanted Djokovic deported but they were not voluble once the Government was trying to do exactly that. Instead, the news became dominated by Serbian Australians' protests and their view of Djokovic as a victim rather than villain in the saga.
With the tournament scheduled to begin on Monday, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke was taking his time, giving his decision "thorough consideration". If Tennis Australia's event was inconvenienced, it was the least it deserved.
However, the other 127 players in the men's singles, duly vaccinated, and the people who have bought tickets to the Open, duly vaccinated, and tennis fans the world over waiting to watch the year's first Grand Slam event, did not deserve to have the tournament delayed or disrupted by injunctions that one selfish sod might obtain in his quest for special treatment.
Morrison and Hawke knew public opinion has a strange habit of changing when governments do something. If Djokovic was expelled he would probably attract some sympathy, if he was allowed to stay and play next week his presence would be an insult to Australians and they would reply in kind.
Last night the Australian government decided to deport Djokovic. His lawyers are expected to appeal, dragging the saga out further. Whatever happens next should not change the fact that tennis' number one player and its supine administrators are the culprits in this story, not politics.