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Steve Smith's Good Friday Experience

Did anyone else feel the Good Friday experience happening before our very eyes last night as Steve Smith, former Australian cricket captain, sat before a blood-hungry nation and media throng?

I remember calling out to the TV at one time, “Stop it!”

I don’t think anyone disputes the need to do the time for the ‘crime’. Yet, it wasn’t a crime but a breach of the rules and fair play. Very important and necessary as this is, we must put everything in perspective. Cheating is wrong. Adults must set good examples for children. Punishments are necessary for wrongdoing. Leaders are more responsible due to their position of power and trust. Pre-adolescent and adolescent children need to be aware of what a genuine apology is and why it is given. And the eventual healing outcome which comes from this.

But are these just punishments, which include absolute public humiliation and fall from grace for three young men? Loss of major income. Loss of leadership. Loss of representative cricket playing for up to a year. Loss of dignity. Most likely they all feel a total loss of humanity.

How can anyone possibly imagine what Steve, in particular, is going through? No-one on earth can know. Falling from number one Australian leader to ‘lynched’ nobody in a couple of days is beyond anyone else’s perception. Most of us called for blood from the start.

The scene last night was of someone in a stock in a town square in a different century! What happened to our Aussie ‘fair go’ spirit? To the anti-vilification and ‘anti-mean’ laws?

‘Let the innocent cast the first stone’ seems applicable here. How ‘holier than thou’ are so many Aussies. Isn’t cheating an Aussie trait that so many conveniently ignore? How many cheat with their tax returns? How many try various ways of cheating in their sports to gain the upper hand to win? How many cheat in their relationships? How many pull others down at work, sport, relationships etc. to gain the upper hand, a promotion, a new mate, etc.? To listen to the indignation espoused by so many this week is frankly quite sickening.

We are dealing with some young men here. Outstanding sportsmen. Yes, very wealthy obviously but this doesn’t give a baying public and media permission to ‘kill’. Is it also a case of cutting down the tall poppies?

To cut Steve off at the knees at the pinnacle of his career is extremely out of proportion to the ‘crime’. Incidentally, if it was a real crime, what would that crime be to suffer so much? Millions in pay and endorsements. Loss of leadership and employment. Humiliation and disgrace to an extreme degree. Media attention beyond anything anyone else would get.

Where is the dignity shown here? Dignity is the first and most important of the social justice teachings.

This is a cricketing life sentence. A year out of international cricket will destroy these careers. Playing at club level will hardly maintain the necessary skills needed to continue their international careers. If Steve were to survive the year and come back to his present level, he would truly be a talent beyond reach. He would prove his equivalence to the best, which he is very close to now!

After last night’s interview, I feel the tide is turning.

Hopefully, an Easter Sunday experience is coming for these young, strongly gifted, basically good, yet normal, flawed men. These humans similar to us in all ways (except cricket).

May we have the strength and courage this Easter to forgive them and allow them time to heal and become fully one with us all again. May justice eventually be done. May our forgiveness give them the strength to not let go but become stronger, better men and cricketers.

© Copyright 2018 Bryan W Foster

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