It has taken me a full week to be able to write this post. Seven days of hurt and pain too intense to express.
I feel sadness and a sense of deep betrayal.
Finally, I feel capable of putting my feelings into words: Ben Cousins is a god damn, no good drug addict.
Now, many readers will no doubt chastise me, with a sense of bemusement, that I am a little behind the times.
Other, more dedicated readers of this blog, may, with equal bemusement, accuse me of hypocrisy — or at least a short and somewhat fickle memory.
And, yes, it is true. Back in 2007, when the entire world seemed to be leaping on top of and ripping at the flesh of the Aussie Rules super star for his confessed drug problem, Carlo Sands stood up and courageously defended him.
And I stood almost entirely alone, asides from some mealy-mouthed clown called Stuart Munckton who said it was all disgustingly hypocritical, but refused to unconditionally defend Ben Cousins’ right to wreck himself whenever he wanted, wherever he wanted and with whatever substances he exercised his free will to destroy himself with.
Only Carlo Sands had the principles and courage to take such a clear-cut stand.
All this is true.
And it is true I argued that Cousins’ “only crime is generating bad publicity for the AFL via the vulture-media — threatening the AFL's ‘brand’ (read: corporate sponsorship)”.
It is true I wrote on the media’s cynical exploitation of Cousins’ troubles: “Let's be clear — this means profits for them as they voyeristically pick over every aspect of Cousins' personal life that can be sold as seedy, troubled and down right fascinating ... A lot of headlines, a lot of readers and a lot of advertising cash.”
And, yes, it is also completely true that I publicly urged him not to cave into pressure, but to front the show trial at which the AFL predictably banned him from playing for a year and proudly paraphrase Oscar Wilde’s famous trial speech with a passionate defence of “The love of the drug that dare not speak its name”.
But that was before last Sunday.
Everything I have done for Ben Cousins — and much of it remains unreported — only makes his betrayal worse.
What happened was this: The Mighty Essendon Bombers, on the very edge of the final eight in the last gasp of the AFL season, rock up to play the Richmond Football Club. The Tigers having languishing on the ladder somewhere between the bottom and very close to the bottom all season.
Essendon needed to win this game to ensure we stayed in the eight. Not only that, but more or less the entire world fully expected them to. Those four points belonged to the Essendon Football Club.
And yet they lost. By less than a goal. Five points.
And who should star in this upset, with a arguably best on ground performance collecting 31 possessions in the midfield?
One Benjamin Cousins.
It is clear he is back on the crystal meth. It is a fucking disgrace.
The fucking drug cheat. After all I did for him.
And, while we are on the topic of Richmond beating Essendon last week, what the fuck ever happened to “tanking?”
“Tanking” is the highly controversial, alleged practice by teams late in an AFL season that are near the bottom of the ladder of deliberately seeking to lose in order to receive a higher draft pick on the following season. Under AFL rules, the 16th team gets first pick, the 15th second etc.
No one has ever been able to exactly prove the practice exists.
Critics of the “tanking” theory raise how difficult it would be to ask your 22 players to go out on the field and deliberately play badly, much less for the coaching staff to coordinate such a thing.
They raise the pride players have in their game, the competitive instinct, the desire to do their best and so on and so forth.
I have a simpler explanation.
Maybe those teams at the bottom of the ladder accused in the latter part of an AFL season of tanking actually keep losing, not through any conscious design, but simply because they are really shit.
This seems the most likely explanation to me. They are just crap teams. They can’t play the fucking game. Their players suck.
They couldn’t win a wrestling match/spelling bee combo with a dyslexic dwarf.
After all, that is why they are at the bottom of the ladder in the first place. They lost most times they took to the field in the first half of the season, why should anyone expect things to be different in the second?
This strikes me as the most likely way to explain the apparently stunning phenomenon of teams at the bottom of the ladder continuing their losing streaks.
And speaking of teams at the bottom of the ladder, Essendon’s game against the West Coast Eagles in now underway. What is more, The Eagles are somehow in front.
If Essendon somehow lose this match, drugs will most certainly be involved — whether performance enhancing on the Eagles side, or a massive binge the night before by Essendon players complacent about what should be a walk over.
Hell, even the Fremantle Dockers beat the Eagles last week.
But back to Ben Cousins. The only thing I have to add is to say that I loved that man like a brother.
"Love is like a cloud, it holds a lot of rain." AFL super star and renowned drug abuser Ben Cousins has broken this bloggers heart