To be frank, I’m not even sure where to take this rant…I am so disappointed, so disgusted, so bewildered, that I may as well give up watching sport and following its stars…choosing rather to go along to the local model train club where at least when something goes off the rails, there’s a legitimate reason and it’s not so hard to put back on the tracks.
The arrest of Karmichael Hunt on cocaine trafficking charges and the leaking of photos of a once national treasure, Glenn McGrath, posing over the slaughtered carcasses of elephants, hyenas and buffalo, has me fuming.
I know enough will never be enough. It won’t matter what is said or done, stuff like this will continue to happen. I’m not sure having a rant even makes me feel better or if it just heightens my sense of despair.
Firstly Karmichael. He has always been put on a pedestal as prodigy. The code-hopping star has just eased into the vice-captaincy at the Queensland Reds, without even playing a game for the code…such was the high regard the club had for his talent and leadership abilities. Unfortunately for the Reds, he kept hidden a much darker, sinister side, highlighting that he is no better than so many of the dickheads who have gone before him. What makes Hunt’s situation all the more vile is that it is apparent that he wasn’t using, only dealing. His constant exposure to regular drug test (thanks to years of abuse by his predecessors in the industry) put at least a temporary timeout on any usage desires. Worse though, he has used his star profile to make profit from those desperate for a fix. Imagine the fortunes, satisfaction and good name to be made by putting that star appeal and celebrity status to good use, like helping junkies and educate kids against the evils of drugs.
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How much money do you need Karmichael? A million a year from the AFL not enough? Is it not about the money? Bored were you? Is it the thrill…the adrenalin rush…the ‘they won’t catch me’ epidemic? Everyone gets caught. EVERYONE. In this day and age of social media and smart phones, the ability of Joe Public to post pictures that will go viral in seconds should be all the vaccination any public figure needs to stay on the straight and narrow. No sport is immune, neither are the actors, musicians, politicians and other notable figures.
You have been blessed with certain skills that plenty of us dreamed about as young kids. Clearly it was offset by deficiencies in other areas that I’d rather not trade for your athletic prowess. You have kids looking up to you with stars in their eyes…wanting to be like you. Now you have parents returning jersey’s to the sports store, trying to explain to them that they will now be following the world chess championships. Your career is over. People will forget about you very quickly. You had the chance to leave one of the most remarkable legacies, yet you chose greed, insolence and downright stupidity as the title block for your memoirs. I hope you’ve saved some of those millions. You’re going to need them to get you through to the end of your days…once you’re out of prison anyway. Now, Glenn McGrath…this one I have a big problem with…as most of Australia does…except for the hunters among you…our values are just so polar opposite that I won’t even begin to debate. Maybe you’ll be able to find new friends in the gun-loving parts of the United States.
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I don’t even know where to begin Glenn. Surely your 500+ wickets were killing enough. You were so loved, SO LOVED by almost every person in the country. People held you in the highest regard. Revered the world over, not just for your sporting accomplishments…but for your gentlemanly approach, your unwavering, undying love and support for your beautiful wife through the most traumatic of battles, your charitable endeavours that your fellow countrymen and women has swarmed behind you on. I have seen you speak at a function and was totally in awe of your story and your ability to tell it. But now you’ve lost your audience, which is a real shame.
It’s a hard one too. I don’t think I’d feel the same, not quite anyway, if you had just been out in the bush and shot a wild pig or, dare I say it, a roo. I know there are those among us who would say ‘pig, roo, elephant or duck…it matters not’, and I for the most part agree but I still feel it’s the lesser evil. You had to know Glenn, how most people, at a minimum most Australians, feel about shooting, particularly about the senseless slaughter of animals, particularly ones as noble and vulnerable as the elephant. Surely you would have known how most people would feel about this. And if you did, you’d either a) not do it in the first place or b) make sure that no photo of you standing over your lifeless accomplishment never saw the light of day.
I feel like a small part of me has died. So many memories that I’ll no longer dwell on. To me it symbolises everything I thought you weren’t, and because you are, you’re dead to me and that upsets me greatly. I’ll continue to support breast cancer because I have a wife, daughters and grand-daughters, but I’ll not don the pink in support of yours.
But it’s each unto their own isn’t it. Every one has to make and stand by their own decision. Tiger made his, so too did Lance Armstrong, Todd Carney, Wayne Carey, Ben Johnson, Oscar Pistorius, Marion Jones, Hansie Cronje and countless others. I’ll make mine, you’ll make yours and Glenn will decide what’s next for himself too…I just won’t care.