On drugs? It helps to be famousMikey 16 comments
Ben Cousins is a lucky man. Most drug addicts don't receive the benefit of being flown to another country to enter a rehabilitation program at someone else's expense. But that is precisely the treatment he is receiving.
If the West Coast Eagles Football Club wants to foot the $60,000 bill for his treatment then that's their business, no matter how wrong we all think it is. My main concern is with what happens afterwards.
Assuming Cousins walks away a clean man; will the WCEFC offer him a position on the team? In February he did a runner at the sight of a Booze bus, abandoning his car and passengers.
He did turn himself in afterwards but at the time more people were concerned with how Cousins behaviour was being interpreted by our youth, as he does, like other football players in his league, carry the burden of being a role model to our children. The ones who look to him for inspiration.
So if he was to be offered a place back on the team, what sort of a message is that sending? 'It's OK to do drugs because someone else will pick up the treatment bill and you can go back to the way things were?' Some people might see it that way.
And will that message carry over to the other players? Some of them are already suspected of having drug and alcohol problems, so will the football club be as generous to them? If not, then we are sending a different message to our youth: Famous people can get away with anything.
Then there is the other issue of performance enhancement. Olympic athletes are stripped of their medals if performance enhancing content is found in their blood. While we can only speculate Cousins was flying high any time he gave a match winning performance, questions still remain: Did he earn that Brownlow Medal legitimately? Does he deserve to keep it?
On the compassionate side I genuinely hope he gets better. But he has sadly forfeited his right to show our children how to behave.