The Dave Warner Dilemma: Deserving Of Sympathy Or Hypocritical Sook?
To hate or forgive Davey Warner? That is the question.
There's a line going around from some of the nation's most experienced and respected cricket commentators that Dave Warner deserves our sympathy.
The line goes that as he serves his time and tries to reform himself, he can do no right. That he could help a little old lady across the road while saving a kitten and making an Ashes-winning century for Australia and still be portrayed as a bully by the haters.
That he's tried to rein in his worst impulses, and is now damned if he does, damned if he doesn't, damned if he pretty much just wakes up in the morning and breathes.
The Davey culture wars flared up again this weekend when Warner walked off a grade cricket field while playing for Randwick Petersham, after he was sledged by Jason Hughes, brother of the late Phillip. There is no suggestion the sledge had anything to do with Phillip, to whom Warner was close.
Waking off was weird. But by all accounts, this was the new, reformed Warner in action. The man who doesn't bite back, but who composes himself rather than lash out.
By all accounts, Jason Hughes said "You’re a disgrace, you shouldn’t be playing cricket" in a clear reference to the ball-tampering scandal for which Warner is serving a 12-month ban from international cricket.
Whether Warner and Steve Smith should be serving 12 months is a worthy debate -- not least because cricketers from other nations convicted of the same act have served as little as three matches on the sidelines -- and this issue will doubtless intensify later today, as two reviews into Australian cricket culture are released.
But for now, and no doubt for years to come, the debate around the character of Warner himself will continue to bubble away. To many, his complaints about anything are the ultimate case of a person in glass house throwing cricket balls.
For too long, Warner has carried himself too aggressively to earn any public sympathy whatsoever. This is what many, many Australians believe.
Warner doing his best to defuse an explosive situation on the weekend? That was your new wise, cool, measured Davey, argue his advocates.
Others say it's pure hypocrisy and if he can't cop it, he shouldn't have spent a whole career dishing it out.
Others just had a laugh, which on balance, is not the worst approach here.