Footballers don’t need to go public with their ‘problems’
It would be interesting to know just how much longer our football administrators are prepared to tolerate the oafish behavior of some of the country’s top class players who seem hell bent on turning themselves into low rent non-celebrities.
Several names come to mind but first it might be just as well to take a look at the long term effects their actions might have on the hundreds of young blokes who look up to them as the sporting giants they once were and try to emulate their incredible achievements on the field.
Role modeling is an important part of growing up and it might be interesting to get the take on what’s been happening lately from the dads and mums and older brothers who devote their Saturday mornings taking the very young kids to Auskick.
Part of that exercise is taking the nippers to the big games and before they know where they are the years roll on and the 5 year olds are teenagers, they have their favorite teams and they have selected their favorite players – their role models.
Now in the main, those who make up the top class teams in the top AFL competitions are men who most teenagers can look at and say – wow, that’s who I want to play like, that’s the kind of guy I’d like to be.
Well, nobody’s perfect and sometimes those good guys get into thrall of drugs or alcohol or both. Celebrity does funny things to some people and when they are loaded with substances of varying kinds, all hell breaks loose.
As it did the night of the Brownlows at Crown. And the combination of grog and celebrity got to one of the Leagues greatest stars, the $700,000 a year champion goal kicker Brendan Fevola.
Nobody really wants to see such a gladiator throw up or accost other players and their partners anymore than they want to see Wayne Carey being carted out of his apartment by a pair of cops.
And the sight of Ben Cousins being accosted by police in a city street wasn’t all that enlightening either.
To be fair Wayne and Ben have taken action to get their addictions under control – what Brendan is doing hasn’t been made public…which is probably just as well.
It’s a well known fact that anonymity is an absolute necessity when people addicted to substances which make them lose control are being addressed.
If those young blokes who look up to these sporting greats read they are trying to kick their habits it’s an example for them to follow if they happen to have the same problem. But the other side of the coin is what happens if their heroes happen to “bust” and that makes the front pages?
Oh well – it didn’t work for them it won’t work for me is their catch cry and the young blokes are back on it.
Sporting heroes owe it to their adoring public to behave and they owe it to themselves to address in private whatever their problems happen to be.
And the clubs have every right to unload the bad guys onto competing clubs - and those clubs need their collective heads read if they cling on to them once they repeat their offences.
And if Crown continues to host gala awards nights and continues to turn a blind eye to oafish drunken shenanigans its license to operate needs to be examined. It has been reported that the multi-million dollar earner James Packer has been thrashed with a feather and fined $3000 for plying Brendan with more liquor after he got out of control.
It’s time the sporting community grew up – what’s happening in many cases is the destruction of some of the most important members of our community.
- Barry Everingham is a Melbourne based writer.
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