Hi grandma! Ben Cousins in the sheds

At last, a breath of fresh air from a footballer - and Ben Cousins, of all people.

He flashed his middle finger to a dressing-room camera before the Richmond-Fremantle game in Perth at the weekend (video below). The Tigers won by three points. Cousins went on to issue a pro-forma apology at the urging of his club, saying he didn’t “mean to offend anyone and I apologise if my actions have caused offence”.

The tone in there is like a po-faced seven-year-old apologising under pain of not getting any more lollies at a party. Today, in this piece, we meet the man:

To everyone, I would like to say: let’s not get too precious.

There is a recession going on, people are under enormous pressure to pay off mortgages and, indeed, are losing jobs.

If people are upset or concerned about what I did, then I wonder where we are headed as a society.

Fair dinkum, I had a bit of fun.

Fair dinkum indeed. He goes on to point out the gesture is something that in the Cousins family, “we all do it to each other as a joke gesture. I’ve even seen my grandmother do it.”

The Herald Sun reports the AFL is likely to seek an explanation from Cousins today.

I reckon he’s done his penance. He certainly won’t flip the bird at a dressing-room camera again. Let’s move on.

Here’s what the boys from the Herald Sun had to say about the weekend’s action. It includes the clip of Ben’s sandgroper salute.

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Rossini says:

      08:10am | 01/06/09

      WTF the guys a footballer not mother “T”

    • Deb Reynolds says:

      08:11am | 01/06/09

      Personally I didn’t find it funny but I think it is a bit of a storm in a teacup. I have no idea why the tv network put it to air. A bit of publicity perhaps?

    • Clem says:

      08:12am | 01/06/09

      Isn’t he saying by flipping the bird at a camera on national television, that he regards the public with contempt?

      There’s no excuse for being a dickhead.

    • Michael says:

      08:16am | 01/06/09

      I don’t think Ben is telling the truth about why he flipped the camera off, my theory is the camera is a domed Pan Tilt Zoom camera and he noticed it following him around and became annoyed about always being chased by cameras. I’ve operated PTZ cameras a fair bit in shopping centres and often when customers notice them moving about and looking at them they flip it off, well me lol.

    • Dave says:

      08:58am | 01/06/09

      Just wondering… is it more offensive to flip the bird than run it as a media outlet on the front page? Visually, a bird’s a bird.

    • Jack says:

      09:18am | 01/06/09

      The media chose to show it, and chose to publicise it. They didn’t have to, and so if anyone was offended it is of their own doing.

    • isis says:

      09:41am | 01/06/09

      Only football fans should have seen it. The rest of us already know they are neanderthals.

    • Brad says:

      09:45am | 01/06/09

      Clem, don’t try and brain today.. you has the dumb.

    • Warren says:

      10:03am | 01/06/09

      We must be pretty short on good stories, when guys have to make this a headline in a newspaper. We are such a pathetic race of people these days.

    • Your name: says:

      10:15am | 01/06/09

      No, football fans shouldn’t have seen it. No one should have seen it. I am in no way condoning what Cousins did, but I think Channel 10 should be branded the culprits here for choosing to televise it. He ‘flipped the bird’ to a stationary camera, an idiotic gesture, but one I genuinley believe was never intended to cause harm. It is time the game was the main focus of a football telecast, incidents like these should be left for shows about football news and culture, not the game itself

    • Scott says:

      10:26am | 01/06/09

      100% shower sharing, towel flicking, brain dead, power drinking, bar brawling, high school wannabe yobbo!

      ‘Nuff said.

    • Nathan says:

      10:30am | 01/06/09

      Ben is just reminding us this was his first game back at Subi. Nothing sinister in it at all.

    • Ian says:

      10:34am | 01/06/09

      The range of commonsense in the community is supposed to follow the bell shaped graph academics like to see. It is unfortunate that there a number of people who appear on the lower end of the scale. Many of these end up as superior sports people, and these tend to bring the games into disrepute because of stupid behaviours. It is doubtful that such behaviour will ever be eradicated by punitive measures altogether. Their clubs ought to take some responsibility by weeding this type of person from the playing rosters. This takes some courage because the action can often reduce the teams’ wining chances. Should this be done? The media can and should report these types of behaviour however I do not think they should sensationalise the idiocy of a few in order to sell a few more papers.

    • John Bergin says:

      10:41am | 01/06/09

      It’s pretty simple, really.  Don’t do anything in front of a camera that you might regret.  Politicians have learned this, and so should sporting figures.

    • Aaron M says:

      10:44am | 01/06/09

      Clem, you’re an idiot.
      That footage was taken an hour and forty-five minutes before the game even started. Who even thinks the cameras are rolling around that time?
      This bloke has been put through enough, and it’s about time we relax. He’s an Australian. We’re all Australian. What happened to the larrikin nature we’re famous for?

    • Jayne says:

      10:48am | 01/06/09

      In this case Cousins is right, why all the fuss about his finger? Who cares!

    • Allie says:

      10:52am | 01/06/09

      For gods sake, you see worse on the football field.  If I was Ben, i’d be flipping off the audience too after they booed him everytime he got the ball.  Get over it.

    • Arnie says:

      11:04am | 01/06/09

      What a storm in a teacup! We all know what sort of person Cousins is and he just keeps on confirming it.  He’s been a disappointment in my Fantasy Footy team so I dropped him weeks ago.  Fine him a few thousand and lets get on with the season and more important matters.  Is anyone really still offended by that gesture? I’m well over it.  It’s an indication of a person’s comunication skills so don’t expect Cousins to be contributing to thepunch any time soon.

    • MJ says:

      11:15am | 01/06/09

      Good call Arnie, getting a bit jack of all the commentary around footbal being about everything but the football.

      Almost enough to make you watch motorsports…

    • Richard says:

      11:16am | 01/06/09

      It is just hilarious when the media continually put it to air and then feign outrage about its possible effect of kids etc.  Kant and hypocrisy is the media’s stock in trade.  Channel 10’s effort in putting it to air when it happened more than 90 minutes before the telecast actually started is the stuff of world championship hypocrisy.

    • Jack Francis says:

      11:48am | 01/06/09

      This is what the media scum wait for, they need ratings as their football coverage and its format is old and tired. That is why when we watch the footy we only hear about umpire controversy and error, because if we have to listen to the same old phrases from these uneducated moronic commentators we would just turn it down and use the pictures, have a look at that weazel Craig Hutchison, now there’s a bloke who Ben would love to meet in a dark alley!

    • B. Reichenbach says:

      12:28pm | 01/06/09

      Ben should realise by now that the media, like hungry dogs, are ready to jump at any scrap he throws at them. If some nameless first year rookie had shown the bird to a camera, would it have even rated a mention?

    • Amity says:

      12:34pm | 01/06/09

      I could not believe it when I saw this first on Channel 10 news at 5pm…sitting there with my young daughter the news repeated the footage twice and in slow motion…..while telling us what a bad thing this is. Now I don’t condone this but really is that all they had to report on???

    • Jenny says:

      12:51pm | 01/06/09

      I’m not a huge Ben Cousins fan but in his defense he was probably just letting off steam before the game and (stupidly) thought they would not air it.  Think about the context.  Big game in his old home town. Most people would do a few push ups to pump themselves up..but not Ben.  Don’t think he should do it again though.  Doesn’t look good.

    • Scott says:

      12:58pm | 01/06/09

      The media and the AFL have a lot to answer for on this and not Ben, now, I can’t stand the game of Aussie Rules and don’t think after what Ben has admitted too should be playing, but here is a bloke in a room where another 25 odd people are and this one camera keeps following this bloke around ages before a game.  Where are the media rules saying that they can only film a certain time before the match and can only film certain things? Where is the responsibility of the media broadcaster to not put something to air that is so early before the game starts. One has to ask has Ben rejected offers to talk to TEN? If I remember right it was Channel Nine that broke the Ben drug story…..soar grapes may be?

    • Johnny Mangrove says:

      12:59pm | 01/06/09

      Unfortunately the more we talk about it the more often it makes the front page. Football player does something crude and stupid is not news, it’s a daily routine.

    • kevin phillips says:

      01:03pm | 01/06/09

      to people and organizations that reported this; get a life. Refreshing and reassuring to see reasonably minded people saying similar things. Good on you Cousins for redirecting attention to more important issues like surviving.

    • Bill says:

      01:06pm | 01/06/09

      Gee I thought Ben was demonstrating that his broken hand was OK?? Channel 10 CLEARLY had to show a down side to the bright spot that was a terrific game and make some more ratings points. We should be looking at the guy who thought that his ‘bird’ was ‘in the public interest’ ...can we sanction morons in the media who decide that THIS was in our interest??

    • James Camilleri says:

      01:18pm | 01/06/09

      Pretty silly thing for Benny to do. I took no offense and think it was totally innoncent and he was just trying to have some fun. But surely he realises that the media are going to scrutinise everything he does. Hopefully the AFL show some common sense on this one and let him go with nothing more then a slap on the wrist.

    • Sam G says:

      01:36pm | 01/06/09

      not the smartest move considering he’s in hot enough water as it is, however i think he was just indicating where he thought the Adelaide Crows would finish on the ladder come the end of the season. I think hes right on the money too! hehe.

    • Concerned Parent says:

      01:39pm | 01/06/09

      People are only interested in chopping other people down for their own ratings benefit. That is the behaviour I need to protect my children from.

    • col in paradise says:

      01:45pm | 01/06/09

      ..in regards to the Ben Cousins salute or Index finger incident…now lets be real here the cameras are hanging from everywhere at grounds for games and they feed to a camera director who feeds it to the commentators and the TV etc.. and if something occurs that is so bad for the game and the children watching how come the TV stations dont cut it out or switch cameras and then they (esp FOX news) keep highlighting - showing it over and over - not just why not click the other camera on their slight delay live - but they keep repeating it..lets not be naive here - they have this delay in case something really obscene or nasty occurs…they had the choice not to make this public and shock the kiddies….but nope to big a headline and keeps you guys writing and commentating

      Okay Ben shouldn’t have done it and will get a fine etc for “bringing the game into disrepute” - how about a similar thing for the media of making this a major issue when the general public - and the children could have been completely oblivious to it by prudent editing…Oh I should have known like the stadium swtitch comes down to big money not the game for the AFL - The broadcasters and the corporates… meanwhile Ben is the bad boy to the kiddies….how about some responsibility by those who show and run the game…pathetic

    • zebadiah81 says:

      01:50pm | 01/06/09

      there are 2 things (at least) that concern me about this whole thing:
      1. is no-one else even questioning the fact that we have a “dressing-room camera” in the first place?
      If there was a camera in the dressing room at the local gym, or swimming pool, or in fact anywhere people are likely to be “dressing”, there would be an outrage, and people would be going to jail.
      2. we all (well, mostly) have 5 fingers on each hand, and being digitally dexterous is a huge part of why the human race has clawed itself up the evolutionary ladder to where we are now (I’m NOT going to say that we have ‘reached the top’ or any other nonsense), and the fact that someone can raise their middle finger can in no way be inherently offensive - if you take offence at this gesture, it is because you interpret it as such.
      if your kids were watching, and they were offended, then it is only because they had an offensive context to place it in - which apparently channel 10 provided at the time.
      How can the media (and channel 10 in particular) claim that this is offensive, when the only possible way it could be such is for us to see it,  and for them to label it as such.

    • pam martin says:

      01:53pm | 01/06/09

      All I can say is Richmond gave Ben a second chance when no other club would, and it really looks like he appreciates it. I would suggest he gets that big chip of his shoulder,  and a big lesson in manners might help.

    • Ross D. says:

      01:53pm | 01/06/09

      to Channel Ten, Patrick Smith and the rest of the media gooses - you only have to read the comments here to discover how out of touch you are with the general football public. This is an absolute non-issue. Get over it and start focussing on the important issues.

    • Jason says:

      02:16pm | 01/06/09

      Patrick Smith from the Australian- get a life you old bastard and write about something that matters. “He should be suspended for a game.” Are you kidding me? Stop making this into such a huge deal- a stupid thing to do, yes. But does it deserve the coverage it is getting? NO WAY! Ross D.- AMEN bruva!

    • chri says:

      02:20pm | 01/06/09

      They didnt have to show it on TV…

      Just creating a story for the media to run…

      He was prob just showing how his hand is all recovered from injury….

    • john says:

      03:35pm | 01/06/09

      It is only a matter of time before Cousins shows his true colours.
      Being so far up his own backside he can’t keep his real self
      hidden up their for much longer.  The bird was just the first sign that he still thinks he is smarter than everyone else.  Trouble is, the reverse is more accurate.
      Boy some people are going to end up looking stupid.

    • damo says:

      04:14pm | 01/06/09

      Flipping the bird, it’s funny… It’s just a finger… all this fuss over a finger… so little to get so heated… s’pose winter’s coming….

    • Scott says:

      05:00pm | 01/06/09

      Massive non-issue, Ten are fools for airing it, let’s stop being so sanctimonious. That is all.

    • Trevor says:

      06:01pm | 01/06/09

      The guy is a complete jerk and an embarrasment to the entire country. The media should just ignore him and he will go away we hope

    • Colin says:

      07:42pm | 01/06/09

      I’m with zebidiah81. Mr Demetriou is huffing and puffing and yet he’s the one that sold the rights to put the camera in the drssing rooms in the first place. What did he expect to see? Are the players to get a dressing sheet, “turn back to camera when dressing and please put your pants on before your socks and shoes”.
      By the way, does anyone know if the rights to the netball dressing rooms are up for grabs? Beach volley ball? hockey?

    • JB says:

      07:58pm | 01/06/09

      I think what happens in the changerooms 90 mins before shouldnt be televised, If the AFL want to fine anyone fine channel 10 for broadcasting it, they are just trying to make something out of nothing… They dont show football players in the showers before the game. so why show this. Channel 10 need to grow up and get over it. Give the guy a break he has fought back from where he has come from. If he did it on the field fair enough, but it wasnt in public until channel 10 decided to make it…

    • I get it says:

      11:13pm | 01/06/09

      Doesn’t anyone get it.  He was just saying, “I’m upping my performance.  Up yours.”

    • Ian Starkey says:

      09:15am | 02/06/09

      It’s an Americanism with no effect in Australia , so any true Australians would not take umbrage from it or even acknowledge it

    • Rob James says:

      09:50am | 02/06/09

      I am so over Cousins, why does he still make the news? Do we even care anymore? He is certainly becoming a has been, or it just because I live in Sydney that I don’t care?

    • Ken says:

      10:16am | 02/06/09

      Yes, it should heve been shown.  It is news because it goes to the crux of what this man is about - just plain arrogance.  He has been given several chances to prove his worth off the field after major discretions.  I don’t care how good a footballer he is, he is not doing the game any good.  If he had half a brain he would by now have modified his arrogant behaviour.  He has just proved to me that he is no mental giant.

      Get rid of Cousins!

    • walter fyst says:

      11:47am | 02/06/09

      Unbelievably crass action by the media and to those who say they are offended in some way, I say UP YOU. If I were ever in such a harrassed position, I would deliver a four knuckle goodbye right dead centre into the mouth as an appropriate response.

    • Ryan says:

      02:27pm | 02/06/09

      Judging by the respondants here I would say that this Patrick Smith guy is so off the mark with his commentary he should almost be out of a job. He’s clearly one of the anti-Cousins brigade of hand-wringing tosspots and doesn’t have the courage to write about the real issues in football, that being the leaders at AFL house.

    • Frank says:

      11:09am | 03/06/09

      Get off the lad’s back for heaven’s sake.you’d think he *mooned* the cameraman considering all the fuss.I don’t even follow AFL.

    • John says:

      03:24pm | 03/06/09

      Who is upset.  Patrick from the Australian obviously is.  He seems to think he is the concious of the football world.  I dont agree with you Patrick and it dissapoints me that you are in a position to post your views to the public.

      Ben greatly contributed to turning that match around with Freo in the 3rd quarter.  Did you watch that game, or just jumping with what you think is a good story. 
      I think Ben shouldn’t have done it, but i understand the sentiment.  Ten shouldnt have aired it.  Is it there scrutinisation and condemnation when Mark Harvey visibly yells the “F” work on screen when captured in the coaches box.  NO its not.

      Focus on one of the greatest mid fielders of the modern game please.

    • Nathan says:

      09:58am | 04/06/09

      i think it is a complete joke the way people are carrying on about this. give a man a break. if he did it out on the feild then it would be different. leave the poor guy guy alone


Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



Read all about it

Sign up to the free News.com.au newsletter