Whatever happened to the credo: it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game? My question is rhetorical. I know what happened, precisely. It was over-whelmed; killed-off, by avarice, self-centredness, materialism, and bad behaviour.
Not in the least am I surprised at what has happened in Cape Town. I am even less surprised by the performance of the former captain of the Australia team, Steve Smith, and the vice-captain, David Warner. Recently, I believe we saw Mr. Warner on the television remonstrating with a cricket fan after taking offence at what was said. What a joke! Warner is a cheat.
Smith’s public mea culpa is a nonsense; an outrageous attempt to rationalisea most disagreeable event. He had the temerity to talk about the spirit of the game; his in-tegrity, and that of the team. He further claimed he was still the best man to lead. One has to ask the question: Is he delusional? Does he really believe those things, or was he, after realising the gravity of the predicament, fighting to save his lucrative sporting career? He, and the others, will forever be known as cheats. All of those in-volved are a disgrace. They should be dropped from the team, permanently, and sent home, immediately.
Caught-out on camera, Cameron Bancroft not only cheated, he lied to the umpires, producing a black sunglasses case.
Cheating is an ugly thing. Smith, who helped instigate the situation, claims to be em-barrassed; not proud of what occurred; and sorry it happened. No doubt he is all of those things; however, I do not believe for one second they are sorry for their cheating. They are sorry they were caught, redhanded.
Had they managed to achieve their aim without detection, I doubt there would have been one word of repentance, from any of the so-called leadership team. What they have done amounts to moral bankruptcy. Sir Donald Bradman must be spinning in his grave.
James Sutherland, CEO Cricket Australia, said it was ‘a sad day for cricket’. Indeed, it is. He went on to suggest that all cricket fans want to be proud of our Australian cricket team. Why would we be proud? I could not give a tinker’s cuss. I love cricket and one hopes they win, in the spirit of true sportsmanship, but proud of them. I cannot imagine anything less likely. They are playing a bloody game, for God’s sake! Let us keep matters in perspective. They are not feeding the starving millions, or providing shelter for the homeless. They are putting bat to ball. Sutherland’s emotive language regarding the team’s place in our lives is part of society’s general malaise. We should be supportive of their sporting careers but not enamoured of them.
Celebrity worship is insidious. Fame is a parasite which lives in any carcass, re-gardless of the talent. These men are cricketers. They are not heroes, and should not be worshipped as such. To talk about being proud of them is a gross exaggeration. Too often, flattering hyperbole is taken seriously by adoring fans, and, more worryingly, by object of such glorification. Fame turns people’s heads and often times results in obnoxious behaviour. They start to believe they are better than other people; above the law – even the simple tenets of a civilised society.
Part of core problem lies in the contractual arrangements.
I am not privy to the minutiae of their contracts but most elite athletes have an incentive clause. The more they win, the more they are paid. It is not a quantum leap, nor would one needed to a member of MENSA, to imagine what they might be prepared to do for an extra $50,000, or whatever the figure might be. We have reached a stage in society where an accumulation of wealth represents success and adulation. Nothing could be further from the truth, but in this day-and-age it is difficult to prosecute a convincing argument to the contrary. There was a time when being a millionaire was extraordinary; then came the billionaires, and now we talk about trillionaires. How can someone who ‘invented’ Facebook be worth so much money? It is beyond comprehension.
Elite sportsmen are paid inflated salaries. Sport has become big business. Winning is all and that leads to people doing whatever it takes. This is not the first sporting scandal, nor will it be the last.
What Smith and Warner have done to Cameron Bancroft is unforgiveable. He is new to test cricket, this being his eighth game. They have sullied his reputation for all time.
The three of them, will, forever, be known as cheats. They deserve the public opprobrium which is being heaped on them at the present. If I were in charge they would have been sacked and on the first plane back to Australia.
Roland can be heard each MONDAY morning on 3BA at 10.30.