The collective outrage that is pouring from Australia onto our Australian cricket team is extraordinary.
Every TV, radio and press commentator is looking for a new adjective to encapsulate the mood of the Australian public. Trevor Chappell wrote yesterday morning that “I’m no longer the most hated man in Australian cricket”.
In terms of the hype, this story is up there with a bushfire that wipes out a town, a terrorist act that kills dozens of innocent people, or knowing that 50,000 Facebook accounts have been hacked. Or is it? Are we just feigning outrage and indignation?
Yes, the Australian cricket team cheated. It was premeditated. They got caught. It was clumsy and stupid. In the coming hours, days and weeks, heads will roll on this – there’s no doubt.
I suspect Lehmann will go, Smith won’t ever captain Australia again, nor will Warner be the vice-captain. If the media (and social media) has anything to do with it, then this day will be remembered for decades to come.
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
But is it that big of a story? Really? Professional sportspeople in any code of sport will push and bend the rules to the maximum to try and win.
It’s always been that way, and it always will. As more and more money is available in professional sport, you can be certain that it won’t be the last time you’ll hear of this sort of thing.
There’s not one single cricketing country that can take the moral high-ground on this, especially not South Africa.
The Australian public has a very high expectation of our cricketers and sports people in general. Yet we also like our players to be aggressive to the point of being unsportsmanlike.
So it’s okay to sledge a batsman when he’s trying to concentrate or to hurl abuse at a batsman when he’s lost his wicket. But just don’t be suspended by the umpire.
It’s time that we all took a big deep breath, and realise that in the grand scheme of things, what happened on a cricket field in South Africa a few days ago is not that big a deal.
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