A broken man.
“To all of my teammates, fans of cricket all over the world and to all Australians who are disappointed and angry … I’m sorry,” he said.
“I’ll do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it has caused.
“I’ve been so privileged and honoured to represent my country and captain the Australian cricket team.
“Cricket is the greatest game in the world, it’s been my life and I hope it can be again.
The 28-year-old then took questions from the press, and struggled to contain his emotions as he answered them, knowing what a defining moment this entire spectacle is in his career, and by extension, his life.
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Steve Smith has played cricket since he was a child, leaving school at 17 to pursue the sport professionally.
This week likely means more to him that many of us will ever know. His career, financial future, and reputation is at stake. But for one media representative present on Thursday night, that reality was very obviously missed.
As Smith looked towards the media, with an expression that looked to be a mix of terror, pain, and utter exhaustion, Intern Pete from the Kyle and Jackie O show took the opportunity to ask a question, which, to be fair, was actually a comment.
“I want to let you know from the non-sport community in Australia, to see you upset tonight is very sad,” he started.
“We asked our listeners, and, as I said, we’re not a sports show, we asked our listeners what we thought about this, and, we have, uh, we opened up to them and mate I gotta tell you… what’s actually been worse is what Davina and Dean did on Married at First Sight.”
At this point, Intern Pete was interrupted and wrapped up with a ‘thank you, thank you’.
The moment a shattered Steve Smith had his cheating scandal compared to that of Davina and Dean on Married at First Sight. Yes, really pic.twitter.com/r3oma3e7IG
— Oliver Brown (@oliverbrown_tel) March 29, 2018
Steve Smith reacted with utter confusion, because we’d hazard a guess he’s a little distracted from the ethics of Married at First Sight.
Why make that comment? To a man who is clearly distressed, and is in the midst of fielding questions to appease the critical Australian public? To a man who was likely desperate to leave the airport, see his family and friends, and rest after an intense and emotional trip home?
An ARN spokesperson told Mamamia, “The ball tampering incident has evoked an extraordinary reaction from a broad range of Australian audiences, both those who follow cricket, and those who don’t know anything about the sport.”
“Obviously the majority of those asking questions at the airport tonight were sports journalists, unlike Intern Pete, so Pete’s question was framed for those who don’t follow cricket.
“But as you can hear when you listen to the audio of the question, Pete genuinely felt for Steve, as he tried to inject some warmth to what was a difficult situation.”
Pete’s comment, however, seems to be an example of how humour in sensitive moments can do worse than fall flat – instead feeling utterly unkind.