Dear Cricket Australia
It’s time we had a wee chat.
I’m rather disappointed in this whole Clarke/Bingle saga. And not just because it was headline news for an eternity. The PM is reforming hospitals, The President is working on an equitable (and historical) health system and the Iranians are voting, but The Nation is transfixed with whether the engagement ring had gone down the toilet. But it’s not parochialism that’s stuck in my throat. At least not this time.
I don’t think Miss Bingle behaved with grace nor dignity. My first reaction when I saw her flip the bird to the media was that Mr Clarke should move on. But then I read an article that said she was 22. Twenty-two. I’m not sure how 22-year-old Me would have handled things had I been in her shoes. I imagine that had the married man I’d had an affair with, released a naked photo that I’d not wanted taken, that I’d thought had been deleted, I’d have probably responded in a similar fashion. At the very least I’d have made a coin purse out of the bastard’s testicles. A girl does need somewhere to keep her change.
I understand that our Sportsmen and Women are held to a higher standard. I’m with you on this one, we have very few role models, and given The Nation worships at the alter of Sport, am of the belief that Sportsmen and Women should behave with grace and dignity as much as possible. Although I long for the day The Nation holds the artistic community close to its collective breast. As a card-carrying feminist, I’m frustrated almost on a weekly basis at the behaviour of (predominantly) footballers, and the complete disregard football has of women. When I run the country I’ll make coin purses out of the lot of them. This saga was started by the infidelity and disrespect of a footballer, who seems to have escaped all criticism.
At the end of the day, what goes on in a relationship is really between the two people involved. By which I mean there’s been a lot of chatter, and not a lot of official talk from the couple in question. Who knows what really happened. But one of the loudest and most frequent comments was that Miss Bingle was not fit to be the Wife of a potential Captain; the concern being her behaviour was bringing the game into disrepute. And I ask you, in all seriousness, are you all completely bonkers?
Because if you were serious about your sport being brought in disrepute, there’s no way you would tolerate behaviour like accepting money from bookmakers, testing positive for banned substances, insulting the Captain of the Sri Lankan team in a newspaper column, sexual harrasment, marital infidelities or being caught by a British Tabloid in a threesome. But you did tolerate this behaviour, didn’t you. All this “disrepute” from one human being. You might have slapped him on the wrist, but Shane Warne went on to Captain the Australian Team in One Day International Games. You even named a sodding trophy after him. He is widely regarded as one of the best sportman this country has ever produced. Never mind that he behaved without grace or dignity. And he’s not 22.
Lara Bingle should have been embraced by Cricket Australia. She needed a bloody good PR, and a month or three with the like of Miss Daly-Watkins. She is only 22; she could have been groomed, and I think you missed an opportunity – the Nation clearly loves the Clarke-Bingles. Who knows why Michael Clarke came home from New Zealand. I wish it had been to support his fiancee through a humiliating and difficult time. Because this is the behaviour we should all be applauding, and ultimately rewarding. He should not have had to chose between his career and his relationship, and I think it’s a terrible shame that that’s what it appears to have come down to.
By no stretch of the imagination do I believe Lara Bingle’s behaviour is on par with Shane Warne’s. Yet Lara has been punished for her behaviour, while Warne has been rewarded. I dream of many, many things, but what I long for most is the day that women are held in the same regard as men. When there is room for the Shane Warnes of the world, and the Lara Bingles.
Yours in Revolution