@stevesmith

ACF hires alarmist MCCCRH to sledge Cricket Australia for inaction on climate change

A Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH) study commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), urged Cricket Australia (CA) to use its popularity to push for greater climate action and do more to look after player and spectator welfare. Hardly an impartial voice to undertake a study when MCCCRH states that it “conducts social research and leads impact focused projects to build media and policy infrastructure that adequately addresses climate change in Australia.”

The ACF campaign director, Paul Sinclair, said, “Cricket Australia should stop being silent and being a spectator on climate change. It should get in the game and be a climate champion for action to cut pollution from coal and to get onto clean energy.

Can the ACF tell FNF Media how many fans think about climate change as they head out to watch a game? It would seem by the sheer length of the beer snakes produced in Bay 13 at ‘The G’ that fans know how to keep well hydrated during play.

Perhaps the ACF should encourage CA to admonish the likes of Steve Smith who carries 10 cricket bats in his kit. Surely allowing New Balance to fell so many willow trees to enable Smith to indulge such a privilege is in direct violation of the UN Sports and Climate Action Initiative (UNSCAI) to reduce the carbon footprint in sports. Note CA has not signed up to this UN compact.

Perhaps ACF should request the air travel intensive Big Bash League (BBL) be banned to save the planet?

Perhaps Kookaburra needs to stop using leather in cricket balls? What do we make the stumps from? Plastic, aluminum? No good. Bamboo?

The ACF couldn’t resist a sledge at CA for having fossil fuel company, Alinta Energy, as a prime sponsor. ACF gave CA stick for having Marsh & Lloyds as commercial partners given they have plans to insure the proposed Adani coal mine. Why hasn’t the ACF slammed Rugby Australia for having Qantas and Land Rover as sponsors for the Wallabies?

In addition to its failings for not signing up to UNSCAI, CA was also criticized for declining to answer with respect to supporting Australia to be a net zero GHG polluter by 2050. It also failed to answer whether it supported turning Australia 100% renewable or whether CA had plans to transition to 100% renewable power itself. CA even copped flak for not recording the number of days abandoned due to extreme heat. Probably because the number is so minuscule, if any that no such records need keeping.

Which begs the question, if the science is so settled, why is it imperative for the ACF to shame CA for non compliance to their religion? We have already seen bodies with absolutely no climate scientific pedigree sign up and make public statements about the dangers of inaction on climate change. Based on what exactly? Is this how consensus is formed? Through group think based shaming which is disproven by the data?

The Australian Medical Association (AMA). It has little professional clue about the climate yet it pushes the narrative even though the far bigger worry should be the percentage of doctors abandoning the organization in droves because of the stance. Our Reserve Bank as well as regulators APRA and ASIC are on board pontificating about global warming, despite corporate Australia, by their own studies, showing less commitment. Such is the trend against climate alarmism by listed corporations, it seems regulators feel the need to dial up legislation to force adoption so it can get more funding to play Big Brother.

The ACF’s true colors come out in the pull quote on p. 18,

It is conceivable that directors who fail to consider the impacts of climate change risk for their business, now, could be found liable for breaching their statutory duty of due diligence going forwards.”

There you have it folks. Lobby for a change in the Australian Corporations Act. Let’s make sure that CA directors can be hauled over coals (no pun intended) for not using a carbon neutral yacht to transport players to the next Ashes series in the UK.

Don’t laugh, the International Olympic Committee and UN argue that, “Sport is not just a victim of climate change; it is also a contributor, through greenhouse gas emissions.

C’mon CA! Ban all merchandise. Tell off KFC for giving fans paper buckets to put on their heads every game. Think of all that virgin pulp that will end up in landfill. No more interstate or international games unless players can be carbon neutral. No more day/night matches unless the light towers are 100% renewable. Players can only have two bats to share between them.

In closing we should cast great doubt over Monash University’s ability to be impartial. The institution’s alarmist climate credentials are well documented.

Recall Monash University made up c.20% of the academics who signed an open letter in support of the lunatics of the Extinction Rebellion. We showed that most of those academics came from fields such as stand up comedy, poetry, arts/education, sports management, archaeology, LatAm studies, sex, health and society, social services, veterinary biology, culture, gender and racism. Few from actual climate science fields. We even proved that Matthew Flinders, who died in 1814, was a signatory to the same open letter, proving once again that alarmists are very poor at policing things that damage credibility. It is all about the number that sign, regardless of background.

Hopefully CA has a jolly good laugh and tells the ACF that it will happily comply as long as the ACF guarantees to offset any lost predicted revenues due to the ACF’s dud prophecies. Perhaps CA should simply ask the ACF why the IPCC admits within its own research (not the summaries written by politicians that hypes the panic and fear mongering) that 98% of the models it uses grossly overestimate warming.

Never again

Make Steve Smith captain again? On what grounds? He repented? It is irrelevant. He showed in the Sth Africa tour that the job was way beyond him. The best player isn’t always the best captain.

Yes we all make mistakes, but to turn a blind eye to cheating only proves that he doesn’t deserve another chance. Would you want a doctor to operate on you whose last 10 patients died under his scalpel?

Yet The Guardian‘s Russel Cunningham makes the argument that he didn’t break the law and the team has lost its “mongrel mojo” without him at the helm. Really? Under Tim Paine and Adam Finch the performances seem pretty decent. Not worthy of dumping either of them. Coach Justin Langer is doing a splendid job reshaping the side.

Steve Smith should never captain Australia again. What message do we send to aspiring kids? It’s ok little Johnny if you cheat. You’ll be forgiven. To make Smith captain of Australia again would take us back to the attitudes perpetrated by the previous board. No thanks.

Langer should tell selectors to keep Warner out

Just do it? There are two options. Aussie cricket coach Justin Langer knows a thing or two about opening batsmen. He was one of our best. Yes, if we want a better chance of winning sooner we could easily insert David Warner post his ban. However at 32 years and 64 days (154 days when the ban ends), isn’t there an argument to develop new talent for the long term? This is merely putting expedience ahead of principle.

We can argue that Warner will have served his punishment but does the team need to risk diluting its rebirth by reintroduction of a toxic force? Are we to believe Warner will return to the team as a reformed choirboy or play his hand at being the same ruffian who believes in his own mind he’s still a rightful veteran? Proof of the pudding was his trademark celebration after scoring a century in local grade cricket. He has changed not a jot.

Yes we lost the 3rd Test today but despite the woeful batting efforts in the 1st innings, Pat Cummins (who deserved man of the match) showed what grit means. 9 wickets and approaching 100 runs with the bat. We deserved to be flogged when bowled out for 151 runs but Cummins took out the top order including India’s highest scoring batters in the 1st innings for zero in the 2nd. He single handedly rallied his team to believe mentally it wasn’t over when they would have otherwise folded. He made Aussies proud.

Justin Langer has worked some miracles with the gutted side after taking the reins from Darren Lehman. Aussie team captain Tim Paine has also been impressive. Stephen Smith has none of Paine’s tenacity. Smith was made captain for being the best batsman in the world. Ability and leadership aren’t axiomatic. Smith’s weakness was evident. He allowed Warner to bully him into burying his judgement. It speaks volumes of why Smith should never captain again. His only real crime was to be a wimp.

It is also questionable whether Smith has the mental side to regain his top spot. He may well succumb to the pressure. He wouldn’t be the first gifted sports star to fall into a deep and prolonged slump post a scandal.

Warner can play 20 over big bash leagues (BBL, IPL) to earn his keep and feed his family but do we really want to send a message to kids that cheaters can prosper in our national side? His actions were disgraceful. Cheating is cheating and no rush of blood to the head is acceptable when earning millions let alone representing one’s country. It is a privilege to wear a baggy green, not a right.

CM would prefer to lose honorably than win with players who were only ever in it for themselves. Matches like today bear out how fighting as a “team” is so much more admirable. The taste of victory will be that much sweeter. No better opportunity to cast the net wide for sleeper talent who would probably have been overlooked otherwise. Make sure current players are kept on their toes to earn their spot.

It should be impressed upon incumbent players as a deterrent that cheating means life long bans. It would also be a stronger signal that the terrible governance of the farcical former Cricket Australia board is over.

Time to start afresh. Langer should take the option of keeping Warner out of the dressing room. It’s the only sensible choice.

Marc Marquez memes have mutated

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The memes have already started for the dodgem car race style of Marc Marquez. The fallout from this is likely to be huge. He is without doubt the greatest talent on track. To be able to do a ride through penalty after only 6 laps of a short track and still come out of pit lane ahead of a 5x world champ Jorge Lorenzo who is riding the most powerful bike on the grid speaks volumes about his skill. Yet he punted the 21 year veteran of the game who has more fans, history and records than most of the grid combined. Marquez will soon feel like the the barber in The Untouchables who cut Al Capone while shaving him. Deliberately cutting up Capone in front of the mob isn’t something they’ll forgive easily. The booing in Argentina was severe. Marquez is a 6x world champion but the question is can he act as one when it matters? He may have been forgiven in 2015 but not after yesterday.

Marquez said the move on Aleix Espargaro earlier on was far harsher than that on Rossi, just that the latter crashed in a racing incident (in his view “nothing crazy”) that copped the biggest penalty. Marquez tried to cover his mistake saying, “Honestly speaking I don’t care, I’m just focussed on my box and I know what happened. Of course today I did a few mistakes – a few of those mistakes were from Race Direction and a few were mine. And I recognise and will try to improve for the future.”

Yamaha Movistar Team boss Lin Jarvis said,

“I think it’s pretty obvious from anyone watching the TV images that it’s a move that is totally unacceptable…So it was the number X of many moves that were unacceptable throughout the weekend. We had issues in free practice when he very nearly missed Maverick one time…There have been several incidents against other riders – not our riders – but other riders throughout the weekend. In the race there was a big one with Aleix. There was another one with Nakagami and then with others. Finally he ran Valentino off the track. That’s just not acceptable – period.”

Rossi also sounded off after the collision,

“I’m okay but this is a very bad situation because he destroyed our sport, because he doesn’t have any respect for his rivals, never…If you take for example what’s happened this weekend, one by one these things can happen to everybody. You can make a mistake in braking. You can touch the other guy. Happens. This is racing…

…But from Friday morning he make like this with Vinales, Dovizioso. He made like this with me on Saturday morning. And today in the race he go straight into four riders…He does it purposely – and it’s not a mistake – because he points the leg, between the leg and the bike, because he knows that he don’t crash, but you crash. He hopes that you crash.

“So, if you start to play like this, it’s like you raise the level to a very dangerous point… Because if all the riders race like this, without any respect for the rivals, this is a very dangerous sport and it can finish in a bad way

 [His apology is] a joke. First of all he don’t have the balls to come in my office alone, but he come like always with his manager, with Honda, in front of all the cameras because what is important for him is this. He don’t care about you…So I don’t want to speak with him. I don’t want to see him close to me because I know it’s not true what he say to me…I hope that he is clever enough to don’t come…

MotoGP is worried that it is without a star to replace Rossi when he retires in several years. So much of the sport’s growth has been down to him. Marquez was supposed to be the coming rider to fill his boots. In skill he has it in spades, his ability to smile for cameras is a strong suit but these incidents against the man he was supposed to replace will create headaches for race organizer, Dorna Sports. He is now a villain and rebuilding that image looks like a lost cause. All smells a bit like the Aussie Cricket team antics in South Africa.

Wider World created by Warner

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To be honest my elder brother sounded more sincere when he apologized in front of my parents after smashing my orthodontic brace-filled mouth 35 years ago. Dave Warner’s media appearance showed next to no contrition. Sure there were tears. References to the stress on his family and how he’d be lost without them. Indeed, had he considered his family before deciding to cheat then he’d never have to run a rearguard action to protect them. That doesn’t condone the actions of social media thuggery on family members but there was absolutely no surprise in the fast pace bouncers peppered at him from the press gallery, all of which he dodged with the same insincerity for someone whom apparently “only ever wanted to bring glory to my country!” Strange way of showing it.

At least in Steve Smith’s case he projected absolute authenticity in his admission of failure. Bancroft was just a startled bunny in the headlights. Warner seemed to be begging for forgiveness in that at some point might allow resumption to expand his property empire in Maroubra than pleading to restore the lost glory back into the ‘game.’

Warner typifies the ‘win at all costs’ mentality cultivated from the top of Cricket Australia. It isn’t just his two teammates that have worn this failure of leadership. Magellan has already pulled $20m in sponsorship, countless others will follow and the upper hand in negotiations over broadcast rights has all but vanished. That means that Cricket Australia will have $100s of millions less in the kitty to pay players, develop kids at tender ages to sustain the game in the future and draw crowds. Less for facilities, less for promotion, less for match bonuses. Less, less, less. Cricket Australia needs a total overhaul too.

Cricket to Aussies is like Rugby Union to Kiwis. It is on another level to other sports. Our hall of fame includes the likes of Bradman, Spofforth, Trumper, Woodful, McCabe, Morris, Simpson, Border, Waugh, Ponting, Taylor, McGrath, Warne…the list goes on. Were Buck Shelford, Sean Fitzpatrick, Jonah Lomu or Richie McCaw found guilty of bringing the All Blacks side into disrepute through blatant tampering they’d be publicly hung, drawn and quartered with their heads tossed into the mud pools of Rotarua. The New Zealand media would not be calling on people to give any cheater a ‘fair go.’ That is the irony. Most of these elite sportsmen have had way more than a fair go but it wasn’t enough. Otherwise there was no reason to cheat.

Some in the Aussie media now cry out for leniency. They made a mistake, apologized…all lessons learnt. Then again it isn’t any surprise that the media is also short on ethics much of the time. Go back to bed like it was just a bad dream. Talk about being ‘role models’ for kids?!? Most Aussie fans won’t view it that way. Talks of two years in the penalty box and then Steve Smith can resume the captaincy shows how shallow the thinking is. While he may have shown himself to be a sincere individual he most certainly proved he has no place leading the team ever again. He should refuse to take it on if he ever plays again.

One has to question whether the bowlers knew something was up. It is not a question of being complicit in the crime rather a fast bowler spends 6 minutes every over staring at the ball in his walk back to his mark, polishing one side on his trousers, checking the condition of the rough side to consider what type of delivery to bowl. Every. Single. Ball. A bowler usually has 5 to 6 overs a spell so at least half an hour to study the curious round object in his hands. Bat strikes leave particular types of marks as does the pitch and fence. So a sandpaper mark should look rather ‘manufactured.’ Certainly surprising that this would go unnoticed.

In any event, this is not the last we’ve heard form this fall out. Warner should never be able to play for Australia again. He neither represents the country, takes pride in the honour of donning a ‘baggy green’ and most certainly has a very weird way of bringing glory to his country. The only one that matters for Warner is himself.

The sincerity of Steve Smith

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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.

The Jester’s Court hands down a verdict on the cheats

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It is a good job that Cricket Australia (CA) doesn’t conduct murder forensics. It would be fascinating to know how the investigations over ball tampering were conducted. The case would appear open and shut. Only three people knew according to CA. Job done. Inside 3 days. All facts have been collected and harsher punishments will be dealt later on. Does this seem like a thorough investigation for the biggest scandal in Australian cricket? Not for a minute.

Was each team member, coaching staff and support crew separately asked and interrogated several times, not only  in front of a panel, but each individual investigator in order to make sure the stories corroborated with post the briefings over several days and weeks? Were follow up meetings conducted in consecutive days to make sure the stories didn’t change? Was evidence of team WhatsApp chats voluntarily offered to exonerate players? By the sounds of it, this looks like a severe containment exercise within a private club. Seemingly no independent investigation and an expedited trial to limit damage.

The tweet from Cricket Australia telling us that the CEO reports Steve Smith is distraught speaks volumes. Apart from being the least valuable information possible, it almost wants fans to feel sympathy for his remorse. It is a joke. A man earning millions a year bet his career on allowing his team to cheat. Whether Warner pressured him and he was too weak to stop him is no excuse. Anyone with half a brain would know better. Still it shows the true light of the investigation – Steve is upset…don’t go too hard on him because he is a nice guy, no really….

The recent reports that staff within the CA can’t stand ring leader David Warner for his “bullsh1t” paint a picture of ridiculously poor ethics throughout the organisation’s senior  management. If Warner has gone rogue, then it is worth investigating every claim he makes no matter how far fetched to get to the truth. Sadly it seems that the investigation wanted to sandpaper a scripted outcome to ensure the reverse swing on the trial whizzes straight by the fans so things can get back to normal ASAP. The jig is up. Cricket Australia will likely find sponsorship from the local butchers going forward because it will be hard for mainstream corporates to back such a sham. The future of cricket is far bleaker than we think.

Australian Cricket Family?

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Just how stupid does the CEO James Sutherland take fans for? Indeed if there are any left. If this is crisis management, Cricket Australia will fold under the weight of its own incompetence. What has the ‘head of integrity been doing for small these years? The shame this incident has brought upon a nation cannot be trivialized. Moreover the use of a logo with “Australian Cricket Family” is some sort of politically correct “we’re all in this together” appeal. No, we aren’t. You’re in this by yourselves.The CEO can’t deflect responsibility for something that was under his control. The culture that has led to this farce can’t be put down to being blindsided or aloof. Ball tampering seems to have occurred prior to the South African test if the video footage of the recent Ashes series in Australia is any guide. India also made similar claims. It isn’t hard to believe this cheating hasn’t been institutionalized for some time.

Heads must roll. Restoring faith? That all depends how the CEO deals with this. Leniency will be punished severely by fans, yet its odds on that management will believe that memories are short and Smith’s skills are a greater asset than the mugs that go the games and  pay his wages. To that end it is bang in line with Cricket Australia’s internal governance code – Lacking Board Wisdom (LBW).

Lack of ethics coaching stems from the top

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Australia’s collapse in the 3rd test against South Africa after the cheating scandal broke spoke volumes. Looking at the highlights one could see many of the players couldn’t wait to leave the ground to escape the booing. True colours. All that happened was to be able to witness a bunch of prima donnas’ inner mental weakness exposed to sunlight.

It was April last year when the players were protesting over pay and conditions. Winners were grinners as the cricket board acquiesced their demands. Oh, to have the upper hand due to exemplary skills on the field knowing it converted to juicier broadcasting rights for their paymasters. One might imagine that hidden within the contract terms, players would receive “extra” bonuses for winning. So in order to get that cash, sometimes extra methods would be required to win. Cheating was clearly seen by the “leadership” team as acceptable if it triggered incentives. Most companies would fire employees for doing the same.

As mentioned yesterday, a team that has the capacity to stoop to such levels has no proper internal controls. The coaching staff must have been blind If they were not able to see the flaws in team dynamics. While (former) Captain Steve Smith denies the coaching staff were aware of the plans to cheat, it is hard to fathom being so close to a team for so long that signs of its internal lack of governance were not evident.

Cricket Australia should rescind the contracts of the perpetrators. They should never be allowed to represent the country again, no matter how talented they may be. I would be far happier to see my team lose and work hard to turn the fortunes through grit rather than win through false means. If sponsors leave the players and the organization, no sympathy should be felt. They reap what they sow.

Cricket Australia needs to clean house. It is evident it is little more than a club run where ethics coaching takes a back seat. No trust can be restored until most if not all senior members of the management team resign or are removed. Same for coaching staff and players. If the world’s best batsman can’t inspire a team by his own amazing abilities on the field, then he has no place leading it off it. Having said that the best player doesn’t always make the best captain.

Yet it is likely a short suspension, loss of captaincy and a big fine will be seen as enough warning to prevent further incidents. Personally (and I’m not alone) I have no interest seeing cheats represent my country no matter how repentant. Smith and his culprits can play in the Indian IPL but should Cricket Australia go soft (every likelihood that it will) fans will desert them. CM doesn’t want to see social media driven boycotts. It seems apparent to every Australian CM has spoken to that they’ve already made their minds up. Good riddance. You killed your own golden goose.

Steve Smith should resign. If not he should be sacked

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Cheating is cheating. Gaining an advantage outside the rules is cheating. Money and match fees are such nowadays that players seemingly will do anything to win. Cricket was so much better when it was an amateur sport. When a bad decision from an umpire couldn’t be reviewed. It was just part of the game. Sometimes it went with you and others against you. Cricket hasn’t often been about the “spirit” of the game. Not any more.

Of course modern technology can provide instant feedback on the correct decision but I’ve always viewed it as wrong to challenge authority when it suits. Really, what message do we send young kids who grow up to think they can protest any decision they disagree with? What lessons or values get taught? TV cameras are everywhere. How do these sportsmen think they’ll get away with claiming a catch they didn’t take? Now this.

While a full inquiry hasn’t commenced it is clear that the player caught tampering was the one fighting hardest to keep his seat, Cameron Bancroft. However team captain Steve Smith admitted he knew in the press conference. While adamant he won’t step down as captain because it will never happen again (Scout’s honour), if he is found implicated in this mess he should be sacked. Period. So should the coach Darren Lehman. I absolutely admire Smith’s crazy talent as a batsman but find such lapses in judgement no excuse and even less worthy of having the honour of leading a national team. If found guilty he should face a lengthy suspension.

Any board would call on their CEO in the corporate world to resign if he/she hadn’t already volunteered it. Yet sports stars, much like politicians, believe hollow promises that the incident won’t happen again should be punishment enough. Qantas should fly these cheats back economy.

Which brings about the ethics of the game. As Smith is the highest ranked batsman in the world will the authorities go weak and impose lighter sentencing to keep the turnstiles ticking? What message does that send? If Smith is in charge he should take the fall for this shocking behaviour and be fined in the $100,000s.

Australia already has a shocking record for bad sportsmanship most infamously with the underarm delivery against NZ in 1981. This test series has been disgusting in many levels. Players mocking other players about the sexual antics of their wives and so on. Australia should forfeit the match and lose their fees. Cricket Australia should be forced to compensate the fans for this debacle and the players responsible fired. Just because Bancroft was fighting to save his career doesn’t excuse him from wrong doing. Sure, playing for one’s country is the highest accolade but any fan wants to see players reach and stay at the top through their hard efforts not through cheating.

What it does tell us is how terrible the governance is within the Australian team. Where were the whistleblowers?  Or do the millions they earn each year somehow cloud their judgement? How could the coach condone it? He was on TV admonishing fans for sledging players walking up the race after being dismissed. What a hypocrite if he knew what the team was up to. No excuse. South African Captain Hansie Cronje received a life ban for match fixing. While ball tampering is not quite as severe as throwing matches it is still cheating.

Fans will be judging the response by the authorities and Cricket Australia. Will CEO James Sutherland issue an apology and some harsh words to really clamp down on this? Or will he gloss over the sordid tour, hope time will heal and think of dollar signs only because  fans can be treated as mugs.

Ethics? A sign in society today of how little it means.