Tim Paine and Cricket Australia have been picked apart by Australian social commentators on Q&A over a detail in his sexting scandal.
Tim Paine has been torched in a hot topic of discussion on Thursday night’s episode of Q&A.
The former Australian captain’s future continues to divide Australia after his shock resignation as captain of the Australian cricket team following shock revelations of a sexting scandal in 2017.
The 36-year-old remains available for selection to play during the Ashes this summer, despite Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein publicly declaring Cricket Australia did not condone the wicketkeeper’s behaviour.
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Freudenstein said he would not have allowed Paine to remain captain at the time his lewd text message exchange with a Cricket Tasmania employee first emerged in 2018 — just months after he was handed the captaincy following the notorious ball-tampering scandal.
Separate Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania investigations found Paine had not broken the organisations’ codes of conduct.
While there is clear anger from some pockets surrounding Pain being allowed to continue his test career without the captaincy — there has also been widespread expressions within the cricket community that Cricket Australia should be taking the brunt of the criticism for hanging Paine out to dry.
The arguments clashed in Thursday night’s edition of the ABC’s discussion program where Paine was branded “plain dumb”.
Jason Falinski, federal member for Mackellar, said: “Character matters no matter where you are leading or what you’re doing.
“I think all of us in this room can agree, or studio at least, can agree taking photographs of your genitalia is a bad idea, sending it to other people is a real bad idea and sending it to a co-worker is just plain dumb.”
He also said Paine had to pay a price for his actions, but should be given an opportunity to redeem himself.
High profile Anglican pastor Michael Jensen, however, focused his comments on Cricket Australia, suggesting the governing body’s handling of the crisis “smells bad”.
“They were very anxious for a new brush, a new kind of clean image,” he said of Cricket Australia.
“And that’s now seem to be quite hypocritical. That’s where I really think Cricket Australia should be under the microscope here, perhaps more than Tim Paine.
“The Tim Paine issue needs to be worked out surely. But the Cricket Australia and the way they seemed to cover this up, the way they’ve now perhaps lent on him to resign just because it’s come out, that seems odd. It smells bad.”
Melinda Cilento, CEO of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, said Paine’s conduct would have been considered a code of conduct breach in any Australian corporate organisation. She said Paine is not a victim of the high standards of character and morality that Australian professional athletes are held to.
“If I had a senior member of my leadership team and I found out they were engaging in this sort of conduct, I’d be really troubled by it,” she said.
“And it wouldn’t fly by our code of conduct. It just wouldn’t.”
Australian journalist Yaara Bou Melham said the scandal further exposes a pattern of alleged victims of sexual misconduct being silenced.
Paine’s wife Bonnie has spoken publicly to declare she has forgiven her husband and has been hurt by the scandal becoming public news more than three years after she was first told in 2018.
The Cricket Tasmania employee at the centre of the situation has not yet spoken publicly.
Meanwhile, ACT chief minister Andrew Barr said on the show that Australian sporting organisations need to do better to educate athletes about acceptable behaviour online and on social media.
It comes just one day after Candice Warner, the wife of Aussie batter David Warner, also said Cricket Australia is operating on two different standards.
She said she feels uncomfortable with how CA has held Paine to a different level of accountability compared to when he was just a player.
“They’re (CA) basically saying that it’s not OK for an Australian cricket captain to send these messages, but it’s okay for an Australian player,” Warner told 2GB radio.
“As a wife of an Australian player, that is slightly concerning and it does make me worry.”
Cricket Tasmania chairman Andrew Gaggin also launched a stunning personal attack on Cricket Australia with a public statement that accused CA of “appalling” treatment of Paine.
Aussie champion netballer Liz Ellis also slammed the initial response from Cricket Tasmania, accusing the state cricket board of “victim blaming”.
“I think we need to keep that in mind as well, that the person at the other end of the text messages did eventually make a complaint,” she said on Channel 9.
“I was disappointed to see Cricket Tasmania in the first line of their statement really try and discredit the woman involved. That was a terrible example of victim blaming and they probably need to have a long hard look at themselves.”
Originally published as ‘Smells bad’: Tim Paine, Cricket Australia torched in brutal Q&A
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