Wayne Carey's world-spanning PR disasters

One time Oz footy legend Wayne Carey is no stranger to this blog; controversy is his almost constant companion. However, the now largely idle idol’s recent bust-ups with police in Aus and the US has immediately resulted in a loss of two media commentary gigs, useful income and further damage to his somewhat suspect repute. Media pundits are speculating on jail time for Carey; move over Michael Vick, your new bunkmate’s a big lump of an Aussie boy. In hiding, Carey’s said to be drafting a public apology – I hope his legal and PR advisors aren’t the usual bunch of media enablers who’re prepared to let him go thru the motions – someone strong has to tell him straight (Arsenal’s ex-captain Tony Adams, anyone) that his behaviour just isn’t sustainable.
Here’s how Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper summarises Carey’s predicament:
AS a footballer, Wayne Carey played as if the normal rules did not apply to him. He strutted the field as his nickname, The King, suggested, soaring over lesser men and stamping himself as the dominant AFL player of the 1990s. But as an ex-footballer, Carey continued to live as if the normal rules did not apply to him. Yesterday, the real world finally caught up with the 36-year-old premiership captain and media commentator, who is now the subject of police investigations on two continents after separate alleged violent incidents involving his model girlfriend Kate Neilson and police. According to a report by Miami police, Carey kicked and elbowed officers at a luxury hotel on October 27 last year after police responded to a desperate call from Neilson. She told police Carey had smashed a wine glass against her mouth, and when police woke the sleeping Carey, he went into a violent rage. News of the incident came only days after Melbourne police were forced to use capsicum spray to subdue Carey during an apparent domestic dispute at his Port Melbourne apartment.
For Carey, both incidents are a personal and public relations disaster that seems certain to sever his life-long link with the game and the lucrative media career that beckoned. For years, the blokey world of football turned a blind eye to Carey’s long list of personal indiscretions, which included an affair with the wife of his Kangaroos vice-captain, Anthony Stevens. He slowly resurrected his career through the media, which couldn’t resist the lure of a real-life football legend. But yesterday, it all came tumbling down, with Nine Network managing director Jeff Browne confirming that Nine would not renew Carey’s contract as an AFL commentator. This came only a day after radio station 3AW confirmed it had dumped Carey. Now Carey is unemployed and in disgrace, joining a list of stars such as Ben Cousins and Gary Ablett in AFL and Andrew Johns in rugby league who fell to earth after sporting adulation. As long ago as 1996, Carey found himself in trouble when he grabbed a woman’s breast, saying, “Why don’t you go and get a bigger set of tits”. He was later convicted of indecent assault. In 2000, he gave character evidence for Jason Moran, who was later gunned down in Melbourne’s gangland wars. And in 2002 Carey was forced to quit the Kangaroos after it was exposed – at a teammate’s party -that he was having an affair with Kelli Stevens, wife of Anthony.

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