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Todd Carney: Why Sharks sacking won't be the end of me

In limbo: Todd Carney's sacking from the Sharks has placed his future in the NRL in doubt.

In limbo: Todd Carney's sacking from the Sharks has placed his future in the NRL in doubt. Photo: Getty Images

Todd Carney is back in training to keep his fitness up and his head clear as he battles to stave off the fallout from his gross error of judgment. Carney is public enemy No.1 – and it is fashionable to kick the tripe out of him at the moment. This column isn’t one for fashion. Isn’t it enough that he is $3 million out of pocket, has been all but banned from the NRL and has lost sponsors?

‘‘It’s lucky in some ways that I’ve been through this before,’’ a circumspect Carney said on Friday. ‘‘This won’t end me, but I will say that it has been very difficult.’’

And there is a person’s welfare.

 ‘‘No club officials contacted me until Steve Noyce rang for a chat on Wednesday – maybe they were doing that to satisfy their conscience because they were worried that I’d do something silly,’’ he said. Or perhaps they had heard the awful rumour which swept Sydney sporting circles:  that Carney had tried to take his own life. ‘‘I told Steve that we didn’t have much to talk about.’’

Don’t expect too many more calls  – Carney has referred Noyce to his agent, David Riolo. Carney has never felt comfortable having Noyce as the Cronulla boss – he was at the Roosters when Brian Smith wanted him out. Noyce cut him then, even though Roosters chairman Nick Politis wanted him to stay on a rich contract with incentives.

Do expect Carney to hit the club up for $250,000 that they were supposed to have paid him before June30 – that’s how much they owe him in third-party payments. Given what has happened, Carney is known to be keen to retrieve that money – obviously because he had been prepared to cut the club slack as they tried to accumulate the deals, but all bets are off now.

And when it comes to cash, it should be known that Carney offered to pay a $200,000 fine and sit out the rest of the season rather than be sacked by the Sharks. Not too many players cop that kind of fine,  let alone volunteer to pay it. That’s how badly he wanted to stay at the club – and how much damage he knew he had done to their  reputation.

Carney made the offer on Sunday afternoon – considered over-the-top by his agent  – as an acknowledgement that he was out of line. But it appears that it was never a chance of happening.  Noyce and chairman Damian Keogh had made the decision – it appears without telling or consulting all board members. How do we know this? Some board members did not like the decision and want Carney reinstated at the club. It will be raised with Noyce and Keogh in the coming days.

So what of the incident? Silly? Tick. Offensive? Yes. Is Carney sorry? Yes. Was he stitched up? You bet. The club says he has been out of line on other occasions and there were rumours on Monday that Carney had previously been involved in a drama of a more serious nature involving a female.

It was raised on radio and has had plenty of traction since. I put it on Carney, who explained the situation. The Sharks were made aware of the incident and clearly  found he had no case to answer, otherwise he would have been sacked. There was no complaint made to police – and if the club had been found to have covered it up, Noyce would be without a job. Why was there no complaint? Because nothing happened.

Carney has been guilty of minor matters, all alcohol related – but nothing that was even close to getting the sack. You will remember that the Sharks said they were not going to ask Carney not to drink. When he talked to me on Monday, he was highly emotional. He’d been in tears the night before and couldn’t stop himself from crying when he started talking about the effect that the negative headlines have had on his mother.

He was so upset he could only text her. ‘‘We’ve talked now and she is OK,’’ he said. ‘‘I know I hurt Mum, I know I hurt plenty of people, the kids who support me. I let people down. I’m just lucky that my friends have stuck by me and the boys have been there for me.

‘‘Things take time and I’m still in shock. I’ve bounced back before, but not from situations that are as bad as this. I know people don’t understand and I can accept that, but I know there are people who understand me and they know I’m better than the way that I have been portrayed. It’s cost me lots of money, but I don’t play the game for that. It’s hurt my pride and I don’t know how I get that back.

‘‘I take full responsibility, I did the wrong thing and I have to show that I am better than the way I have represented myself. I am not perfect, but I have bettered myself as a person from the Raiders days to the Roosters days until now. I am still hoping to be involved in football and I had plans to be involved with football after I finished my playing days. I still hope that can happen.’’ 

Sorry individual

Mick Robinson is the man who took the photo of Todd Carney – and he wants the sporting community to know just how sorry he is. ‘‘I didn’t do it to get him in trouble, I didn’t do it to put out on social media – it was just two drunk blokes on a night out and things went wrong after. I was in the bathroom with Todd and he asked if I had seen the fountain and I’m pretty sure he didn’t know that I took a photo of him doing it.

‘‘I didn’t want to do anything to harm Todd or his career. I was offering to buy him beers on the night but he said he couldn’t do that because he had training the next day. I feel bad and stupid because I sent the photo to my brother and he then lost his phone. I didn’t want this to happen and if there is anything I can do to help Todd, I’ll do it. He didn’t harm anyone. People have done a lot worse. I’ve done worse. It’s been a terrible week for me – people think I did it to him on purpose and I’ve copped a lot of flak for it.

‘‘I met Todd that night and he was a nice bloke ... for this to happen is just not fair to Todd. I’ve got in touch with Todd and apologised. He said, ‘It’s a bit late, I don’t think that you realise what you have done.’ I know now. I want the Sharks to realise they have made a mistake. He deserves to be back at the club. I really want to clear his name. Todd deserves to cleared. If he had have known about this I wouldn’t be out saying all of this in his defence.’’

Case for defence

High-profile lawyer Adam Houda has been in touch with Carney – and he believes he has a case for unfair dismissal  against the Sharks. Houda has been doing the legal work for Blake Ferguson in recent times. He managed the career of Hazem El Masri and thinks that Carney should fight.

‘‘He has a great case,’’ Houda said. ‘‘I’d stake my reputation on it. I’m tired of the relentless attacks on Todd Carney. He’s a human being first and foremost. Let’s keep things in perspective here – he hasn’t killed or hurt anybody. We all do inappropriate or embarrassing things in private, including all those goody two-shoes individuals who have condemned him.

‘‘This was through no fault of his own – his private conduct was leaked into the public. In that regard, Todd’smatter is exceptional and extenuating. In those circumstances, I believe he’s on solid ground to commence an unlawful dismissal claim against the Sharks and to seek reinstatement into the NRL.

‘‘It’s disappointing how the NRL is so heavy-handed and crushing towards players without first exhausting all options at rehabilitation. They get away with heavy-handed tactics because nobody stands up to them. Fortunately, they are not above the law and Todd should seek legal redress. I am of the firm opinion that the courts would not sit back and allow the Sharks or the NRL to get away with its heavy-handed and disproportionate approach towards Todd Carney.

 ‘‘A weak players’ association is at the core of the problem for NRL players. I don’t believe they do enough to protect player welfare. With a strong and efficient players’ association, the NRL would think twice before playing dictators. 

‘‘This talk of life bans is just silly. If we were to ban every footballer for inappropriate behaviour conducted in private, we’d be left with very few players playing in the NRL. Most rugby league people would chuckle at reading this because they know exactly what I’m talking about.’’

Backing Blake

Don’t think that the Roosters will give up on Blake Ferguson playing with them. In fact, they will approach the NRL again in coming weeks to seek a clearance for next year. This column has been told that a major sticking point for Ferguson was that he missed a meeting with the NRL’s Dean Widders in May. That was cited as a lack of commitment to his comeback.

Chasing Cherry

The return of Chris Sandow as a top-flight footballer has been one of the great stories of 2014 ...  but will it be enough to stop the Eels from making a major play for Daly Cherry-Evans? 

Remember, DCE was helped by Brad Arthur at the Eagles and they had a strong bond. The Eagles have cleared plenty of room to keep DCE, but you cant help but think that Parramatta will always be better resourced than Manly.

20 comments so far

  • Always a good idea to reward someone for being a moron.

    Commenter
    Mark
    Location
    Milton
    Date and time
    July 06, 2014, 12:28AM
    • Suck it up pal.

      Commenter
      Zac
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 06, 2014, 4:43AM
      • Carney has without doubt a strong case of compensation against both Cronulla and the man who ruined his contract by posting the image. I hope he takes both to the cleaners.....

        Commenter
        Nigel K. Williams
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        July 06, 2014, 4:57AM
        • As an aside, what happens to a guy who takes photos of people in toilets without their knowledge in Australia in 2014?

          Commenter
          Hasnat
          Date and time
          July 06, 2014, 5:51AM
          • Rugby League, the game that is continually trying to defend the indefensible, any wonder the game is going out backwards.

            Commenter
            Ian
            Date and time
            July 06, 2014, 7:06AM
            • Rugby League, the game that is continually read about, talked about and watched by those who profess to dislike it, any wonder why the game got a billion dollar contract.

              Commenter
              Joe the expat
              Location
              The Hague.
              Date and time
              July 07, 2014, 7:39PM
          • At last! A column that is not only unfashionable, it is sensible and compassionate. Well done Danny.

            Commenter
            DeeTee
            Location
            Cronulla
            Date and time
            July 06, 2014, 7:22AM
            • carney still does not get it. The fact he has no sense of responsibility or accountability is what got him in this situation in the first place.

              Commenter
              One eyed Eagle
              Location
              Botany
              Date and time
              July 06, 2014, 8:07AM
              • Thanks, Danny. What a contrast to the item today by your SMH colleague. Rugby League has its fools and tools, some of whom have done far worse than Todd and not been severely punished if at all. In the absence of evidence that Todd Carney has recently done far worse than this, that he is not the fine young man so many regard him, he should be reinstated. To save face Cronulla and the League can fine him heavily but the current situation is simply unjust.

                Commenter
                James D
                Location
                Chipping Norton
                Date and time
                July 06, 2014, 9:39AM
                • Let's break down his history of misdemeanours.
                  1. He urinated on a member of the public for no reason
                  2. Drink driving
                  3. Drunken rampage in Goulburn
                  4. On the cans in kings cross when he shouldn't have been
                  5. Urinated on himself and ingested it
                  6. Probably more but I can't recall

                  Carney is not the brightest bloke. He is the quintessential idiot of the NRL who repeatedly gets himself into strife. Yet you accuse the media of reporting his "errors of judgement" as fashionable? Come on Ed.

                  If he didn't want to let the fans down. If he didn't want to lose wads of money. If he didn't want to hurt his pride. If he regrets upsetting his mother by acting like a grub, then he ought to choose his friends more wisely and think before he does something stupid. It's not a problem for the majority of other league players.

                  Get him out of the league, he has damaged it enough over the course of his career.

                  Commenter
                  Brumbies2014
                  Location
                  Sydney
                  Date and time
                  July 06, 2014, 9:56AM

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