Two things were evident in his Sydney press conference. Three if you include the sick stunt pulled off by KIIS FM to mock Smith’s cheating as a distant second to a couple from Married at First Sight (MAFS). First, Steve Smith sounded sincere in his apology and his eyes looked like a man in utter distress. Second, we saw a man who was clearly intimidated by his deputy and let that get the better of him. Smith knows this will haunt him forever, as it should. At least he took ‘full’ responsibility.
Still for all of the millions these sports stars are paid, he buried his judgement and did something so monumentally stupid. How much Warner, the team ruffian, pushed him into accepting they would cheat is beside the point. The captain should have exercised his position there and then. Smith knows it was a catastrophic moment of weakness. Therefore why there is speculation he might have a shot at the position to be captain again in a couple of years is kind of pointless. He has shown he is well out of his depth in leading that team. It is a folly often made by groups to appoint the best performer as the leader.
With the bat, Smith has reached the top through sheer talent. No tampering has affected his ability to amass an average that is close to approaching the late, great Sir Don Bradman. That was his ability. Being at the top should have meant that he never needed to cheat. Still, greed acts in ways that makes people do foolish things. To think his golden goose has now been well and truly crisped. It is one thing to be sorry, it is another to willfully dupe others for considerable personal financial gain with the hope one isn’t caught red-handed.
It is fraud in any other language. In the finance industry one can go to jail for market manipulation. Should sports stars get more leniency than bankers? After all had ball tampering allowed the players to extract bigger match fees and bonuses over years isn’t that the same as rigging interest rates or insider trading?
After listening to Bancroft’s press conference, it was surprising no questions touched on the sugar in the pocket during the Ashes series. He claimed Newlands was it. Should it be found that the cheating has been going on for longer, then the bans set out for the perpetrators is way too short. The problem with lying is that the truth is easier to remember.