Friday, November 9, 2007

While I am on double standards

The separate rules for on and off field football people are not confined to the NFL.

In Australia, Richard Pratt, president of my beloved Carlton Football Club and chairman of Visy Industries, a massive supplier of cardboard to business around the country, has been found guilty of gross long term collusion to fix prices, and fined $A36 million. Visy is now the subject of several major lawsuits to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Pratt remains president of Carlton, as did fellow white collar criminal John Elliott a decade earlier.

Meanwhile, West Coast star Ben Cousins has dropped in and out of rehabilitation as he fights addictions to cocaine and methamphetamine. He has also kept some pretty shady company, lost his place at the club, and generally been hounded and pilloried by commentators*, politicians, and the press. The AFL is now looking at further punishing Cousins for bringing the game into disrepute, just in case any other team is willing to take a flyer on his future prospects.

Massive fraud and theft by a non-player. Drug use by a player. Sure, these are different things. But just like the NFL, the only thing the AFL sees is the difference between a suit and a football uniform.

* Not all commentators. Tim Lane, also a Carlton supporter, takes a strong stand in today's Age on this very subject.

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