I am perplexed at the motivations of the ARU in relation to this matter as it appears to me that Kurtley Beale is the target of the investigation, not a person of interest of it. I would have thought to establish and maintain credibility the ARU investigation would have to be comprehensive, transparent and able to stand up to scrutiny for it deemed to be a credible investigation. From what I can glean thus far this has not occurred in my opinion.
Correct me if I am wrong, but did Beale not send the the first message to some 'Waratah Mates' and then a 3rd party has authored the message deemed to most offensive? If this 3rd party is not an employee of the ARU, the ARU obviously would have no jurisdiction over that person, however the ARU would still have jurisdiction over the players who were also privy to 'that' message. Surely those players must also be accessories before the fact of Beale's offence or the principal offenders of an offence themselves? If this 3rd party or parties were not within the ARU's grasp then why the need for redaction's within the Beale statement?
Surely the ARU would have the mobile phone numbers of contracted players within Australia. How hard is it to match the forensic analysis of Beale's phone to those phone numbers? or were the mobile phone numbers also redacted? I would think not because Beale would have to show that the numbers were not his? I am willing to keep an open mind but these are fairly basic probing questions. The ARU can say “if new, relevant information comes to light, we’ll investigate that information” but I would have my doubts about the strengths and objectivity of that investigation based on what is known to me from various media reports.
One thing I will give to Beale is that he has fronted up to face the music. He has provided a statement, supporting evidence and I would think this has been subject to cross examination and subsequently he received his punishment. In my opinion Di Patston appears quit happy to use the media to push her barrow but at the end of the day she has not fronted with evidence and and allowed herself to be cross examined in a similar manner to Beale upon that evidence. That may well be due to the state of her health and that is fair enough and I wish her well in her recovery. However until she does, are we to take her at face value? If so that would be quite prejudicial towards Beale I would have thought? When will Di Patston stand up and be totally accountable for her actions and or version of events?
I find this comment interesting “He (Beale) doesn’t know my background. I’ve had an ongoing illness myself and I’m on medication. There’s a whole story behind it." Did Di Patston seriously think Beale was a mind reader? Would it be reasonable to suggest that Beale some how should have made himself aware of the medical history of Di Patston? I think not. At any stage did Di Patston make herself conversant with Kurtley Beale's background and issues he may have?
In my opinion Beale is no Saint and is deserved of punishment for his actions. However it just appears to me the ARU have tunnel vision and have their blinkers on when it comes to other parties involved in this dreaded saga and I don't think that is right.
Get onto it Sherlock :)
I can't think of an episode in the history of rugby in Australia where a player has been subjected to such an episode, the fans so divided and the ARU found so wanting. I can think of the Quade Cooper 'toxic' comment; the James O'Connor contract termination; the Beale vs Delve incident; the Rugby Wars; 1987 when Roger Gould just left training to go home as Coach Jones had 'lost the dressing room'; the fractured 1981-82 tour of Great Britain and Ireland all come to mind but for me this saga has it all and the wounds still appears open and deep.
It appears to me that even if you are pro Beale or pro McKenzie/Patston neither camp appear to be pro-ARU. I too think the ARU have handled these matters appallingly and have been found wanting. It appears to me that they have failed to fully adhere to natural justice; crisis management; public relations; team administration; leadership; transparency and competent governance.
I am intrigued that the ARU appear to be quite at ease with their handling of the matter. Perhaps I am just plain wrong and the ARU have nailed this. If the ARU are going to give themselves a pat on the back then it appears they are all well versed in the practices of the mutual admiration society. If this is the blue print for the ARU moving forward I fear for the code in this country.