Five years on from the “blackest day in Australian sport“, Australia’s cricketers, and the media, seem to have found an even darker shade of black. The cheating scandal has dominated talk radio, news bulletins and all of Australia’s front pages dominated by the story.
The Australian Financial Review took on the story by talking to cricket sponsors, claiming in its front page headline that major sponsor Magellan “leads outcry” over captain Steve Smith’s cheating admission.
Former captains and players have been readily available for op-eds and TV appearances. Michael Clarke first appeared on Nine’s Sunday Sport yesterday morning, then again on Today this morning. Simon Katich, Brad Hogg and Adam Gilchrist have all made appearances to share their thoughts, and the Daily Telegraph today has an op-ed from another former captain, Ian Chappell, calling it a “dark day in Australian cricket”. As part of its coverage, The Australian ran pull quotes of tweets and comments from Shane Warne, Ian Healy, Kevin Pietersen, Mitchell Johnson and Jason Gillespie.
Of the many think pieces getting a run today, Fairfax cricket writer Malcolm Knox’s pulls the longest bow, calling the scandal cricket’s “MeToo moment”, a reference to the movement encouraging victims of sexual harassment and violence to speak out.
And the prize for the quickest advertiser to capitalise on the story must go to sports compression apparel company Skins, who took out a full-page ad in The Sydney Morning Herald, published on page seven. The ad is a letter/lecture from executive chairman Jaimie Fuller to the Cricket Australia board, calling on it to reveal the details of the scandal in the coming days. Fuller wasn’t afraid to give himself a pat on the back in the letter, with a line referring to “collusion” between the cricket governing bodies of England, India and Australia to take the biggest slice of revenue: “It was a terrible chapter in cricket’s history and, thankfully, on that is now right — courtesy of the work of campaigners, including my own company Skins”.