Avoided the sack: Australia’s Kurtley Beale at ARU headquarters on Friday night. Photo: Christopher PearceBeale avoids suspension, fined $45,000Fitz Files: Cry, I can no more for the Wallabies
Controversial, yes, outrageous for many, but on balance the best possible ending on the whole damaging Kurtley Beale saga.
After the independent tribunal handed down its decision on Friday night, Beale is found guilty of sending the horrifying text in June to a female staff member, pays a $45,000 fine, but gets to continue being legally eligible to play for the Wallabies – a long way from actually pulling on the jersey.
There has been an understandable outcry in response, with many accusing the ARU of having gone soft on the troubled player, condoning sexual harassment etc.
I respectfully beg to differ.
I talked to many of the directors of the ARU board and other key players on Thursday evening at the John Eales Medal Dinner, and it was their united expectation that Beale would go. There was certainly no conspiracy on their part to contrive to save him.
What they had done though was to set up a quasi-legal process, overseen by independent arbiters of impeccable pedigree, and have them wade through all the evidence, all the factors, talk to witnesses, take statements, and come up with what they felt was a fair result. They did.
They noted Beale’s immediate contrition, the trashing of his name since, and the fact that Beale had already effectively been suspended from recent matches.
The end result is that a troubled player with a troubled past is not thrown on the scrap-heap and left to rot but given one last chance – and make no mistake it is exactly that – to redeem himself. What he did was apalling outrageous, horrifying and unforgivable but . . . actually constituted moments of madness. It was not part of a long pattern of constant harassment consistent with one who is a danger to all shipping within coo-ee. In the case of Beale, the fact that he had huge frustration with the position of employee in question, shared by some of the other Wallabies, does not excuse the sending of the text for a second, but, whatever else, it does indicate that the cause was not simple malicious misogyny.
Whatever happens from here to Beale, we may take it as given that he is highly unlikely to ever send a text of that nature again, and it is equally unlikely that other rugby players – present and rising – won’t get the message that it is totally unacceptable.
Will he join the Wallabies now in Europe, though? I, for one, hope not. He needs to retreat, disappear, train hard, think about all that has happened and then come back next year as a better player, and a better man.
Beale is a troubled soul, but he is not a bad man. Those who know him well report kindness, humility, and yes, integrity. This shocking episode is one he will struggle to live down, but at least – against all expectations – he has been given a chance to do so.
It is for him now to work hard to take that chance.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.