Another day, another “tuff-as-fuck” Australian cricketer crying on television, this time cheater-in-chief David Warner. His waterworks weren’t as convincing as Smiths, and that’s saying something, but the acting coaches probably had less to work with. And I have little sympathy for this line of defence:
The abuse directed at Warner’s wife Candice and daughters in South Africa both on and off the field, starting in the first Test in Durban, was raised as a contributing factor to Warner’s decision, as alleged by CA, to direct Bancroft as to how to tamper with the ball using sandpaper at Newlands, with the knowledge and support of Smith.
One of the many things I found nauseating about Tony Blair was his thrusting his harridan wife and kids into the forefront when it looked good for him politically, and then whining incessantly about privacy when anyone asked him some basic questions about them. The best example of this was his spin machine making the absolute most of the birth of his son Leo, complete with dreamy family photos and softball interviews, but when asked if he had been given the MMR vaccine at the height of the Andrew Wakefield controversy, he refused to answer and bleated about privacy.
Now Warner is doing the same. He chose to strut his stuff leading a celebrity lifestyle, having married a woman who was already well-known for deeds both admirable and less so, and invoked his family for publicity purposes whenever it suited him. Hell, he even used them as a shield at the airport when he arrived back in Sydney. Anyone who gave a damn about their family would have arrived alone and taken the heat, having told his family to stay at home with the curtains drawn or disappear to a remote hotel somewhere. Yet all of a sudden he’s blaming his actions on the “abuse” his family received in South Africa. Yes, that’s right: the reason Warner conjured up a boneheaded plan to sandpaper a cricket ball is because his wife was being taunted by the South African fans.
Even in itself this is ludicrous, but let’s look at what happened. Warner, in keeping with the ethos of the Australian team under Lehmann and maintaining a tradition which seems to go back longer than I previously thought, spent his time in the field dishing out crude, infantile, and foul-mouthed abuse to the South African batsmen. In particular, he made a series of remarks about Quinton de Kock’s surname and allegedly made references to his mother and sister. What’s that about keeping family out of it? Oh no, that only applies to non-Australians. de Kock, being aware of Warner’s wife’s previous dalliance with (then) Canterbury Bulldog’s RL star Sonny Bill Williams in a nightclub toilet (la famille Warner is all class), he said:
“I hear your wife likes rugby players. She’s gonna like it here in South Africa, we have plenty.”
Which, of course, “crossed the line” and led to the now infamous altercation between the two players on the steps of the dressing room and, apparently, Warner to get everyone together and hatch a plot to sandpaper the ball. As you do.
Warner said it was difficult to go back to where he was mentally at the time of the decision.
This from the man who mercilessly mocked Jonathan Trott as he was going through obvious mental issues during the 2013-14 Ashes. I hope that Trott has been watching Warner’s demise unfold with a little smirk of satisfaction on his face. Of course he’s got far too much class and decency to say anything, but I hope he can take some comfort in it all the same. Ex-England batsman James Taylor had some interesting things to say in a recent article, too:
I was playing for England against Australia in a one-day international in Sydney and I had just been dismissed for a second-ball duck, lbw to Mitchell Starc. As I was walking off, head down, David Warner charged over and screamed abuse in my face.
I don’t need to repeat what he said, but that story from 2015 is enough to explain why a lot of cricketers around the world have little or no sympathy after hearing Warner had been suspended for 12 months. Many of them will feel this is a classic case of cricketing karma. As soon as you get personal on the field, you will find yourself with enemies.
Most of the the cricketing world is not interested in Warner’s “apology”, or his excuses, or how he will “look at how this has happened and who I am as a man”. They want him to shut up and disappear from cricket entirely and permanently. He should do so.