It was a pretty standard collection of sportsmen behaving badly stories this morning. My morning media round-up for Crikey had four of them and it should have been five but I forgot one. There were two about a couple of rugby league players.now on charges which involved a girl being hit at a night club, another group including a star now playing rugby union in France denied entry to the same place and then the description of the Sydney Roosters as being a rugby league club "out of control" when it came to the influence of booze on the culture of its players.
The fifth story I meant to include but didn't was a Sydney Daily Telegraph apologia by Josh Mssoud putting forward one Matthew Johns as being a suitable candidate to become coach of the NSW State of Origin rugby league side. Mr Johns, you might remember, was the retired player stood down from the Channel Nine commentary team after ABC Four Corners did its story about members oif the Cronulla team for which he played having a gang bang with a now quite distraught woman while in New Zealand. Mr Massoud, who purports to give expert opinion, wants his readers to "Ignore the odour of charcoaled flesh that still accompanies Johns after he was burned at the stake for Cronulla's 2002 group sex incident - and remember the man we all loved not so long ago."
Before Channel Nine succumbed to populist bullying and pulled the plug on Johns' commentary career, he came across as one of the game's best analysts. But from an Origin perspective, it wasn't so much Johns' technical observations that impressed.
It was the passion with which he delivered them. Johns devoured a fine game of rugby league, a debate about its most contentious issues, or an interview with one of its brightest stars, with the relish of a footy tragic tucking into a piping hot meat pie on the hill.
Toss is a collection of stories from on field incidents like the one about the Queensland Aussie Rules player being investigated by police for assault after a brutal on-field football incident that left an opponent with a broken jaw, eye socket, cheek bone and nose; A Springbok rugby union international rubbed out for eye gouging and Barry Hall of the Swan's once again setting a shocking example by going the biff and it was not a sporting morning to get enthused about.
Which was a pity really because last night I had watched an intriguing interview on Fox television with with a young Collingwood footballer with a Brazilian mother and an African father named Harry O'Brien who presented quite a different image of a modern football superstar. Harry writes a blog on the Collingwood website where he describes, among other things, how he gets the bus every Wednesday night to his meditation classes. It sure beats getting thrown out of night clubs.