I’m very glad Richmond decided to pick up Ben Cousins in the pre-season draft today.  Something has never sat right with me about the way Cousins was treated.  He never tested positive to drugs at any point.  Yes, he came clean with his addiction, but how is his situation any worse than the multiplicity of players who have returned two positive tests, yet continue to play without even their club knowing.  I really don’t see the difference.

I’ve heard that quite a few of another club’s now-premiership players had serious drug problems, but the club looked after it in-house, sent them to rehab, and did the right thing by them.  They were duly rewarded with a premiership.  Perhaps what the clubs can learn from that is that finger-pointing and ignoring things until the hit the media is the worst possible way to go about things.

Ben deserved another chance.  I’m glad there was at least one club with the character to grant that to him.

3 Responses

  1. Good post Erin – I agree completely.

    The decision gives heart to all recovering addicts who may have been in despair over the prospects of them being exiled and denied woirk because of their addiction/mental health problems.

    I also wonder how the AFL and footy admin people deal with addiction in their families – do they abandon them too?

    – and don’t worry about angst, it’s part of all of us. What’s individual is how we react to it and move on and that can take some time to learn.

    Good luck
    tony serve

  2. I think its a massive risk. He is old (in footy terms), he is damaged goods (was injured last time he played AFL level footy) and for a team like Richmond, who aren’t really likely to make top 4, a bit of a waste. If he was a better role model generally (e.g., not frequenting the funerals of convicted drug traffickers and not conveniently shaving off his hair prior to having a hair sample requested), then I could see his value as a mentor. However, I think he probably lacks the football skills he used to have, and probably lacks the leadership and mentoring skills. So I honestly can’t see why they bothered. Maybe because they knew people would come to see him play and therefore increase Richmond’s revenue?

  3. The best mentors in the game have overcome big obstacles. For example, purely talented players generally make crap coaches because they have never had to work as hard or overcome the obstacles that less talented players do.

    Leadership consists of two things – Vision and Influence. Ben has both if he decides to use them.

    If Ben Cousins stays on track, he has a wealth of football knowledge and experience to share and adversity has made him stronger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *