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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wayne Carey Throws Away Career

One of AFL footy's greatest ever players, Wayne Carey, has imploded in a stupefyingly spectacular outburst of anger, misogyny and violence. It seems his entire post-football career is finished, with his employers falling over themselves in a rush to ditch him. Facing police assault charges in Miami and with the prospect of more in Australia, earlier questions about his behaviour towards his girlfriend, model Kate Neilson, have been raised again.

Disturbance in Port Melbourne

The current controversy kicked off when Wayne Carey, a regular topic of interest here on The Speccy, (allegedly) called police to his exclusive Port Melbourne apartment. Apparently, he wanted them to remove his girlfriend, the "grid girl" and "glamour model" Kate Neilson, and her friend Sabella Sugar:

Kate Neilson, working to promote bogan-sports.
Source: Herald-Sun.

When police arrived, it's alleged that Carey became out of control:

Senior Constable Wayne Wilson said police were allegedly assaulted at the apartment front door.

"Police arrived and then at the front door the fellow from the address allegedly assaulted police officers," Sen Const Wilson said.

"They struggled with him, sprayed him. He was arrested and taken to the St Kilda police station where he was spoken to and interviewed, and a brief of evidence will be prepared in relation to assault police. (Perth Now, 28/1/2008)

So Carey was "maced" (or, more correctly, sprayed with capsicum spray) by police in an effort to control him. At this point, standard procedure requires paramedics to be called. We can see the effects of this thanks to the CCTV footage from the security cameras in the lift and lobby:

This security footage - apparently purchased by our old friends Channel 7 - has sparked its own mini-scandal:

The Seven Network tonight aired what it described as exclusive security footage from Carey's apartment building.

The footage showed Carey, dressed in a blue t-shirt and jeans, being led into a lift and then out of the foyer by two police officers.

Carey appeared red-faced and, in one portion of the footage, was having water poured over his face. [see above]

But the Nine Network said police were investigating how the footage was obtained.

A security guard offered Nine the same footage for $20,000 but the network did not buy it because it was feared the images were stolen, Nine reporter Tony Jones said tonight.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said police denied such an investigation had been launched. (The Age, 28/1/2008)

(Heh. Still, not as damaging to the league as naming [that club] in The Great Medical Records Shitstorm of 2007.)

Carey was maced, cuffed and taken into custody and the scandal broke around midnight on Sunday night. By Monday, his radio gig at 3AW was under threat, with broadcaster Neil Mitchell publicly decrying Carey. By Tuesday, the axe had fallen and Wayne Carey was not to have his contract renewed. (Predictably, 3AW claimed this was a decision they'd already taken and had nothing to do with his actions over the weekend.)

Miami Incident Goes Public

Kate Neilson, in trouble in paradise.
Source: Herald-Sun

Later on Tuesday, Australia was rocked to hear that in October 2007, Wayne Carey had been charged by US police in Miami under suspiciously similar circumstances: a domestic disturbance followed by assault against police:

In the report, arresting officer Daniel Rodriguez said Kate Neilson told police when they arrived that her boyfriend of two years had smashed a wine glass on her mouth, causing lacerations to her mouth and neck.

Police went upstairs to the couple's hotel room and knocked several times on the door, but Carey didn't answer.

When hotel security opened the door, Carey was asleep on the bed and did not wake until police tapped him on the shoulder, the incident report stated.

"At this point he became aggressive, jumped out of bed and became confrontational towards these officers," Officer Rodriguez said.

After a scuffle Carey fell back on the bed and kicked Officer Rodriguez in the mouth.

When police attempted to restrain Carey, he elbowed a second officer in the face.

Carey was turned on his stomach and put into handcuffs, but as he was hauled away continued to push the second officer, using his shoulders and side.

When he was put inside the patrol vehicle, he bashed his head against the plexiglass of the divider separating him from the officers. (The Age, 30/1/2008)

Carey's Miami Mugshot
Source: The Age

Carey was so out-of-control he had to be "hobbled" with special leg restraints for "combative, violent, high-risk people". He is due in court in Miami on February 15th and faces up to 15 years in jail for his alleged criminal behaviour. As a result of this latest scandal, Channel 9 dumped him from his on-air roles with the (loathsome) AFL Footy Show and Footy Confidential. I doubt anyone will miss his tactless and cruel remarks about the problems of others.

More Details of Party Emerge

Adding to the furore, new stories have surfaced about underworld links and drugs at the party at Carey's Rouse St apartment in the hours leading up to his arrest:

Traces of cocaine were also allegedly found in Carey's apartment, sources said.

Today Tonight reported last night that Stingers actor Kate Kendall and her husband, former Carlton football great Wayne "The Dominator" Johnston, were invited guests at a party Carey hosted on Sunday.

Kendall's manager said they had left the party long before police were called.

A source close to police repeated details of the party to The Age. The source said a high-profile horse trainer and a former VFL footballer who is a known associate of murdered drug dealer Jason Moran, were also present. (The Age, 30/1/2008)

Party Girls, Sabella and Kate
Source: Daily Telegraph

At this point, we should remind readers that Wayne Carey was also an associate of (now slain) drug dealer and hitman Jason Moran, Mark's half-brother. Carey gave character testimony for Moran in 2000.

Back in March, 2007, we covered an Age investigation detailing a major drug operation against a well-known former AFL player with a huge media profile for his cocaine use. At the time, Carey refused to rule himself out:

FOOTBALL great Wayne Carey refuses to say whether he has dabbled with cocaine, and insists he knows nothing about the alleged habits of other sporting greats.

As the game's big names went to ground yesterday, Carey told the Herald Sun he was unaware of claims a former star player was under police pressure to snitch on a cocaine dealer.

But the controversial ex-Roo and Crow would not say if he had dabbled with the drug himself.

"No, I'm here with my daughter," Carey said.

"I'm saying no, I don't want to comment." (Herald-Sun, 26/3/2008)

It's also not the first time Carey has been accused of domestic violence. As we reported just over a year ago, allegations were levelled against him for attacking Kate Neilson in December, 2007:

WAYNE Carey's girlfriend has told police she was assaulted by the former football champion.

It has been alleged a frightened Kate Neilson went to police after an incident at a Port Melbourne penthouse apartment.

The Herald Sun believes the model told police she was scared to leave the two-time Kangaroos premiership player.

Carey and Ms Neilson have denied the incident, but police sources claim she called 000 after being struck last Thursday, but was so distraught operators couldn't understand her complaint.

It was handed over to police and she went to South Melbourne police station to speak to officers there about 1.30am.

Police have told the Herald Sun that Ms Neilson had minor injuries when she arrived at the station, and she claimed Carey had punched her. (Herald-Sun, 28/12/2006)

Kate Nielson and Wayne Carey in Happier Days
Source: Adelaide Now

The public long suspected Wayne Carey was a bad man, stemming from incidents going back years. We were just prepared to overlook the facts on account of his star footy status. A philander, a misogynist, as well as aggressive and violent with extensive underworld connections. A man who indecently attacked a 19 year-old woman out the front of a nightclub. A man who cheated on his wife with his team-mate, and then abandoned her a second time just weeks after she gave birth.

Now, it seems that without his prodigious football talent to hide behind, he is being hung out to dry and getting exactly what he deserves. (Even his entry into the AFL Hall of Fame - formerly a slam-dunk - is now under a cloud.) The great shame is that people didn't see him for the pathetic, angry man that he is earlier. The Australian footy-loving public was blinded to his monstrous flaws and the blind adulation only fuelled his ego and sense of imperviousness.

Consider the remarks of the Miami police, public officials immune to the star power of an Aussie Rules player who can see him for what he is:

Miami Police Lieutenant Bill Schwartz said Carey was a "mess'' and should have left his aggression on the football field. Instead he used "his famous foot" to kick an officers in the mouth.

"It looks as though that he used his wine glass to try to knock out his girlfriend, his foot and elbow to try to knock out some cops and his head to try to knock out a police car," Lt Schwartz said.

He said the officers did not know who Carey was then.

"To us, he was just another thug."


"The young woman had lacerations to her mouth and her neck, apparently she had been hit in the face with a wine glass,'' Lt Schwartz told the Nine Network.

"She told us Mr Carey had done this.


"Mr Carey became belligerent when we approached him - in fact, he ended up kicking one of our officers in the mouth with his famous foot," Lt Schwartz said.

"He struck another officer in the side of the head with his elbow and he had to be subdued.

"Then once he was handcuffed and in the police car, he took his head and tried to bash a hole in the partition between the prisoner's side and the officer's.

"Clearly Mr Carey has anger management issues and he seemed to be upset with the entire world that particular morning. (Herald-Sun, 30/1/2008)

There you have it. Just another thug upset at the entire world. If only the rest of us had seen Wayne Carey so clearly ten years ago, if only we weren't so quick to make excuses and overlook his behaviour, maybe all this pain, heartache and disappointment could have been avoided.

*** UPDATE ***

With violent, drug-addled thug Wayne Carey back in the headlines, it's worth a quick post rounding up the key points, breaking news and other sordid details from his life with paramour Kate Neilson. Click through for the latest word.

Citations: Perth Now, 28/1/2008; The Age, 28/1/2008; The Age, 30/1/2008; The Age, 30/1/2008; Herald-Sun, 26/3/2008; Herald-Sun, 28/12/2006; Herald-Sun, 30/1/2008

Word Count: 1861

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Drink-Driving Pie Blows Sponsorship

Drink-driving Collingwood rookie footballer Sharrod Wellingham blew a big number on the weekend - $500,000. That's how much his recklessness has cost the Collingwood Football Club in lost sponsorship from the TAC. While this raises questions about the club's culture, it also throws into sharp relief the bizarre practice of our State Government insurer giving free money to wealthy footy clubs.

The facts of the case are very straightforward: Last Saturday night in Lorne, on Victoria's Surf Coast, 19 year-old Wellingham blew 0.13% while driving. He has lost his licence for 12 months and his club fined him 10% of his salary.

Of wider import is that Collingwood has now lost its seven year sponsorship deal with the TAC (Transport Accident Commission), a State Government-owned insurance business. It is most well-known for running advertising campaigns to reduce traffic accidents and paying for rehabilitation for injured parties.

After an earlier incident involving Collingwood's Chad Morrison's drink-driving offence in April 2006, the TAC had Collingwood on notice: one more traffic-related incident and it would be finished. The TAC had good reason to worry as a year earlier they tore up their sponsorship deal with Richmond over Jay Shulz drink-driving and speeding. It was always a risky play, with Collingwood having a long history of unsound attitudes to driving. Speedster Cameron Cloke, for example. Or, more tragically, the feted Darren Millane, who killed himself in a alcohol-fuelled traffic accident.

Eddie Presents Yet Another Really, Really Sorry Footballer
Source: The Age, 10/1/2008

Naturally, the miscreant in question is full of remorse for his stupid and selfish act. And he's got club president and game-show host Eddie McGuire working the media on his behalf:

Fronting a media conference with Wellingham yesterday, McGuire said: "We have to make a stand and not make excuses.

"That we have transgressed means we've forfeited the right and the privilege of being associated with the Transport Accident Commission."


"There's no excuse for driving a car under the influence of alcohol, whether you're driving it 10 miles or 10 metres," McGuire said.


After apologising to his team mates and the club, Wellingham fronted the media yesterday to make a public apology.


"I've made a silly error in judgement and I just want to be able to move on and make this a turning point.

"I did the stupid act of getting in the car thinking 'I'm only moving it 150 metres, it's not going to make a difference, I'm fine, already made my way home after the night out'," Wellingham said. (The Age, 10/1/2008)

Notice how Eddie simultaneously stresses that there are "no excuses" and then manages to work in an excuse ("hey - he's only moving it a few metres to avoid a parking fine")? Kind of like the American politician who publicly refused to use "attack ads" - but then showed the ads to some journos. It really is a pleasure to watch McGuire operate. Here he is at it again:

McGuire said his club and the AFL were taking steps to ensure players acted responsibly – especially when it came to alcohol.

“Sharrod himself has given up drinking,” he said, before pointing out that he had “good people around him”. (AFL Bigpond, 10/1/2008)

Yep, some of those steps towards responsibility include ... buying a pub. (Read former Age diarist Jonathan Green's account of this odd move.) And some of the "good people" around Wellingham presumably include Lance "Buddy" Franklin of Hawthorn, who was in the car with him at the time. With the Sunday Age reporting in December that Buddy declared himself "off his chops" in a nightclub (they generously interpreted this as meaning he was going vegetarian), more time spent in Buddy's company should make Wellingham's no-alcohol pledge fairly easy ...

In any case, the impact of losing the $500K will be modest, given that the club is extremely wealthy even by AFL standards, reporting a profit in excess of $2M last year. Eddie will talk up the damage, but, in reality, it amounts to less than the salary of one top player.

Which brings up the question of why the TAC is sponsoring a group of people who regularly feature in the press for breaking our road rules: drink-driving (Shulz, Morrison, Ottens), fleeing booze-buses (Cousins), losing control of hoon-wagon (Gardiner, Teague). Remember, this is a group of people with their own free priority taxi service (with secret direct number). And, occasionally, police chauffeurs (with lights and sirens too, if you don't mind).

The TAC collects money compulsorily from Victorian motorists and then fritters away up to a million bucks a year in ensuring that AFL players are given the maximum exposure when they inevitably break the law. It's disturbing that despite two similar sponsorship agreements failing in the same way within a couple of years, the TAC plans to push ahead with a third attempt. Is it a case of third time lucky, or do the TAC staff just enjoy the corporate hospitality that comes with the deal?

Perhaps the most charitable spin that can be put on it is that, absent a plausible stick, the threat of taking away the million-dollar carrot motivates players (via their employer) to take the traffic laws seriously. While that works for one club at a time, the other fifteen have the certain knowledge that the million-dollar carrot will be shopped around every couple of years, so they keep their players in check too. If this is the case, then it's a sad indictment of footy culture that the Government has to bribe them to obey the law.

*** UPDATE ***

Showing that this Collingwood drink-driving incident is hardly a one-off, Port Adelaide has also demonstrated the fundamental inability of footballers to accept that road rules apply to them too:

A Port Power AFL footballer has been banned from driving by an Adelaide magistrate.

Forward Nathan Krakouer, 19, was caught driving unregistered and uninsured at Pennington in Adelaide's north-western suburbs on September 6 last year, and again four days later.

The teenager represented himself in court, telling the Magistrate he was unaware the registration had lapsed when he was first caught speeding.

Krakouer was fined $100 and ordered not to drive for the next two days. (ABC, 14/1/2008)

So, no rego, no insurance, speeding and then getting caught again a couple of days later? A $100 fine and a two-day ban? It seems that Krakouer's belief that road rules are for others is well-founded.

While Port Adelaide was never in contention for the TAC's bundle of our free cash (presumably they'd only sponsor a Victorian club), it highlights the stupidity of such funding arrangements.

*** UPDATE ***

It just doesn't stop. More selfish recklessness from footy players on the road, making it three in a week. Premiership player Steve Johnson has been picked up for the most gross speeding you could imagine: 128 km/h in a residential 50 km/h zone:

Police have impounded Johnson's car and he faces the loss of his licence for 12 months after he was clocked Wednesday night at 128km/h in a 50km/h zone.

As they did a year ago, Geelong's players will again play a major role in deciding a club penalty for the star forward. But unlike last summer, his career with the Cats is unlikely to be in jeopardy.

Teammate Shannon Byrnes was also in the car at the time of the incident, with the pair on the way to Eastern Gardens golf club in Geelong.

“We are extremely disappointed that Steve was found to have exceeded the speed limit in this manner and we are thankful that Steve, his passenger Shannon Byrnes or any other people were not injured,” Geelong chief executive Brian Cook said in a statement.

“We know the risks associated with speeding and speed is a major cause of road crashes in Victoria.


The players will meet within a week to discuss what penalty they want for Johnson this time.

“The club will consider the possibility of further sanctions over the next week which will include discussion with the player leadership group,” the statement read. (FoxSports, 17/1/2008)

Yes, this is the same Steve Johnson who was involved in a drunken incident in Wangaratta around 12 months ago, resulting in his arrest (which he tried to keep secret). Coming on top of earlier police attention for his drunkenness, the last major incident saw him voluntarily suspended by his club for five matches.

Steve Johnson, what a winner. 80 km/h over the speed limit.
Source: Herald-Sun

Let's just remind ourselves of what the club said about this troubled character at the time:

“Steve has been given numerous chances and it is fair to say that he is now down to his last opportunity to prove that he wants to stay with the club. (Geelong FC Statement, 8/1/2007)

Given his performance in the Grand Final, does anyone doubt he'll be getting yet another "last opportunity"? (This will nearly tie him with Ben Cousins when it comes to most "last chances".)

We're watching you, Geelong. If you don't stick to your word on this, your club will be shown up as weak, desperate and dishonourable.

*** UPDATE ***

In a predictable move, Geelong has seen fit to let repeat offender Steve Johnson off without sanction. This man - prone to bouts of drunken irresponsibility warranting police intervention - was busted hurtling along at almost 80 km/h over the legal limit. He was earlier publicly warned by his club, Geelong, about being on a last chance (see above).

Unfortunately, strict defamation laws prevent me from saying what I would like to. Instead, I draw your attention to the official media statement above, and compare and contrast with this excuse by Geelong Chief Executive Brian Cook:

But Cook hinted the outcome could have been different had the mercurial forward been a less talented player.

"There does come a point in time when you run out of chances. And talented people get more chances than the not so talented," he said

A repentant Johnson described his decision to speed as 'a bit of a brain fade'.

"There was no reason why I should have been travelling at that speed. To be honest, I've got no excuse for it. It was a silly thing to do. I can't put a finger on it," he said.

"There's no excuse for travelling at that sort of speed." (Sportal, 22/1/2008)

This idea of talent "buying" extra chances wasn't stated in the media release last year. I, for one, could not countenance dealing with people who could cynically manipulate the public like this.

Citations: The Age, 10/1/2008; AFL Bigpond, 10/1/2008; ABC, 14/1/2008; FoxSports, 17/1/2008; Geelong FC Statement, 8/1/2007; Sportal, 22/1/2008

Word Count: 1883

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