Monday, December 1, 2008
Well, If Nobody Else Wants Him...
Artist's sketch of Ben Cousins as a Tiger.
Poor Ben. Stupid Ben. Brilliant Ben. Awesome Ben. Drug-fucked Ben. Gentle Ben. Big Ben. Who knows what Ben a football club will get should they recruit Cousins, Ben. What we do know is that at his peak he was awesome on the field. He could turn matches. He could rip the hearts out of opposition supporters. He could make grown-ups weep in envy at his talent.
We also know he was the type to walk to the front of the line at nightclubs, say "Do you know who I am?" and walk straight in. Eventually, one guesses, that lead to his downfall and his immersion in drug culture.
I can't talk. I have three of four E's a year, and maybe a line of cocaine once every two years... but my occupation, income and reputation is not in any way hindered by this recreational use of drugs. I can't say he is bad for taking drugs mmkay, but I can say he's an idiot for doing so.
Without footy, he's just another bogan.
He has had all year to a) break the habit and b) impress the clubs with his recovery. Working on the premise that 'a' was achieved, he has failed miserably at 'b', even with the assistance of his family, former clubmates and Anthony Mundine (and I'm not being facetious there. Mundine did actually try to help the guy and told him to be a 'man'.)
No clubs picked him up on the weekend, and his only chance now is with two or three clubs at the next round of drafting... one of which is my club, Richmond.
One of the problems was that when the AFL announced that Cousins' drug-testing conditions would be more difficult than any other player, he should have come straight out and said, "No worries!" Instead, there was this murky shit involving his manager claiming it was unfair. I, and many others in the footy world all said, "Shut the fuck up, say 'yes', and play some footy".
If I were Ben Cousins I would have spent all year in schools talking to kids about how bad drugs are mmkay, and at footy clubs, getting fit, working out, impressing them. Cousins hasn't done that. He's failed.
BUT. But. But. Who are we to demand anything of him? He's not our property. All this shit about how sponsors won't like him and how clubs have standards to apply... it's all modern gobbledygook litigious-society weasel-wording OH&S garbage.
Clubs have one core responsibility: To win football matches, playing within the rules of the game.
If Ben Cousins is off the drugs and is ready to play then every team should want him. It is an insult to their members if they do not offer him a spot on their list. What's the harm? Put him on minimum wage, give him a fairdinkum go, and if he gets back on the drugs kick him out on the streets! But if he's off the drugs, give the kid a run. He could win matches for you.
So, as self-appointed President of the Richmond Football Club, I hereby offer Ben Cousins a 1 year contract at minimum wage.
With the power of MS Paint behind me, I have three other options for Richmond to consider should the Cousins thing fall through.
1. Usain Bolt: As long as he got the ball, not a person on Earth would catch him. Not even Shane Crawford.
2. Christopher Hitchens. He could use his wit, logic and obscure quotes from Ovid's lesser-known works to convince opposition players to let us win.
3. Jenna Jameson. Because Richo has always wanted a team-mate to penetrate.*
* I think he meant a player to penetrate the opposition's defensive zone, but, you know, close enough.