Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

Cousins and Newman show us what we hold dear

Posted by occidentprone on June 25, 2008

This morning we had two indicators of where our moral compass lies:

Recovering drug addict Ben Cousins may play in the Victorian Football League this year, aiming to return to AFL ranks in 2009.

The former West Coast Eagles captain and Brownlow medallist is expected to be registered to play in the VFL before next Monday’s deadline, News Limited has reported.

It’s possible he may sign for the WAFL, but the Herald Sun said it was more likely he would pull on the boots for one of 10 VFL sides. (Source: The West)

The ABC says it’s not a done deal:

But his manager, Ricky Nixon, says no decision has been made and clubs from both the VFL and WAFL are still in contention and he refused to close the door on nominating for the draft later this year.

Mr Nixon says the Brownlow medallist has received offers from almost 200 football clubs from around Australia.

“It really comes down to playing in the best competition or training rather with the better sides closer to AFL level,” he said.

And another fallen star is back on his feet:

Sam Newman is set to return to the AFL Footy Show on Thursday night, three weeks after Nine Network bosses ordered the star to rest, News Limited newspapers report. 

Newman was asked to take an indefinite break from performing three weeks ago following a series of on-air incidents, including groping a lingerie-clad mannequin while holding an image of journalist Caroline Wilson over its face and making suggestive remarks.

News Limited said Newman’s departure on May 28 marked a drop of 70,000 viewers within two weeks. (Source: The West)

So a footy star famous for running with gangsters and bingeing on drugs and a loathsome, neanderthal TV personality are back in good graces with proprieters (who are in the business of making money) without any public demonstration that they are worthy of such good fortune.

On the one hand, we could argue they are examples of a society which values forgiveness and believes in redemption. On the other, you could argue a big-dollar earner can get away with whatever he wants. A short spell in coventry for appearance’s sake then get that guy back bringing in the dough. And we can formulate the redemption ‘narrative’ afterwards for a New Idea deal.

Newman and Cousins are not irreverent or merely unruly – which we could dismiss as larrikinism. They both transgressed the very generous lines we set for them, and have shown little or no remorse. True, Cousins had a drug problem, which can mask the true morality of an otherwise good person. But what’s Newman’s excuse? No matter how clean living and sober he gets, he’s still a mean spirited, malicious misanthrope.


6 Responses to “Cousins and Newman show us what we hold dear”

  1. Retarius said

    Commercialised sport and television. A perfect pair. There’s only one answer: They got this way because people watched ’em. There’s only one way they’ll un-get…

  2. Rolly said


    If nobody watched, nobody would buy advertising time, and the perpetrators would soon be given the boot in an altogether different fashion.
    Democracy at its purest.

  3. occidentprone said

    Business is not democracy though. Big business is all about money and never mind the casualties along the way (truth and other old-fashioned things).

  4. Rolly said

    I was being sarcastic.
    Business is all about money and it is your average “mug punter” who provides it.
    Freedoms are being eroded at an exponentially increasing rate because Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Miss Average are permitting mis/disinformation to rule their lives in every possible way.
    Commercial interests are just one part of it.
    ‘Twas ever thus.
    I expect little to change.

  5. occidentprone said

    Rock on deconstructing internetters then.

  6. Hi Occidentprone,

    Ben Cousins’ full time occupation for many years has been ‘footballer’. In the early noughties, WA police warned West Coast Eagles of a drug culture among players there and West Coast don’t seem to have known what action to take based on this warning.

    Did West Coast Eagles have a duty of care as employers to take reasonable efforts to ensure a drug-free workplace? Some stories suggest that Ben Cousins was introduced to drugs by other West Coast Eagles players. This may or may not be true, but if it is true, then West Coast Eagles may have neglected their duty of care, especially with the police warning.

    Having had a few friends with addictions, I have seen how powerful and devastating addictions can be. Those friends are fundamentally good people who have been ravaged by an addiction (they are my friends because they are good people, not vice versa). Addicts can become expert liars and manipulators (in relation to their addiction) to avoid revelation of their addiction, keeping them well clear of admissions or acknowledgment, let alone the long road to rehab.

    I think both Cousins and Newman have self-esteem problems but they deal with them differently. Sam Newman deep down (OK maybe not that deep) doesn’t like himself, so he gives himself a little boost by bringing others down. The more spotlight he gets, the less deserving he feels and the more he takes it out on others (e.g. the whole Caroline Wilson stunt). People like Eddie Maguire see the good in Sam Newman that Sam doesn’t see in himself and Eddie tries to give Sam more exposure and opportunity for Sam to live up to what Eddie sees in him. Sam doesn’t see it that way, so keeps acting contrary to it.

    So people who know Sam and Ben Cousins well will probably treat them more kindly, just as you and I would probably do in the same situation with people we know well, despite their failings.

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