COMMENTMelbourne Storm fans, players and officials have waited four years for some sign of contrition from Brian Waldron about the role the former chief executive played in the salary cap cheating that brought the club to its knees. On Tuesday, Waldron penned a column for an online news site in which the “chief rat” of one of the biggest scandals in Australian sport had supposedly broken his long silence and apologised for his sins. If that was truly the purpose of the exercise, then it was an incredibly underwhelming and inadequate public apology that stunk of a desperate, and quite frankly, pathetic, attempt by Waldron to garner publicity. Those associated with the Storm deserved more. The Storm was regarded as the team of the modern era after it won two premierships from four grand finals from 2006 to 2009. It was coached by the best in the business in Craig Bellamy and it spawned a generation of superstars such as Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Israel Folau and Cooper Cronk as well as producing a supporting cast of cult favourites who turned it into a champion team. However, its legacy was torn apart in April 2010 when the NRL announced that the Storm was guilty of significant cheating of the salary cap that allowed it to keep a strong squad during that period. The club was stripped of two premierships, consigned to playing out the season without points and heavily fined. Waldron’s rambling dialogue gave no explanation or mea culpa of wrongdoing, but provided just an overarching apology to “all those hurt by my actions”, which he stated was offered “without reservation”. It read as a coming out – a signal that he believed enough time had elapsed that he could re-enter the public arena after an aborted attempt in 2012 when he was outed as having a connection with the Melbourne Tigers basketball team. He talked about the buck stopping “at the top”, but rightly or wrongly – and there are still plenty of conspiracy theories out there about who knew what – history has recorded Waldron as the central figure, not as a leader who took one for the troops. He also referred to the consequences of “ego and emotion” on clubs but the man – who was known for his apparently boundless self-confidence and headline-grabbing quotes – did not apply this to himself as he again wrote of it in general terms. While Storm fans as a whole have moved beyond the point of caring what Waldron has to say, many still felt galled enough by his proclaimed contrition to unleash a barrage of online bitterness. For those who stayed the course and read to the end of the piece, they found a handful of paragraphs that constituted the apology. Bemoaning that his good work had been overshadowed by his misdeeds, Waldron wrote: “I have received both praise and indignation for my work in sport administration. Regretfully the good is quickly forgotten when wrongdoings are laid bare. I understand and accept this is the consequence of inappropriate actions. “Regretfully I got ahead of myself. It’s absolutely appropriate that I apologise to all those hurt by my actions and I do so without reservation. “In sport, people come and go and learnings are lost with them. It needn’t be that way. While failure can be a better teacher than success, I know which one I prefer. Good sporting organisations share the same philosophy.” The website plugs that Waldron will write regularly “on the business of sport” and even though one newspaper quoted the site’s editor as downplaying Waldron’s future involvement to having “a chance” of again writing a column, there is little likelihood that anyone associated with the Storm will afford the columns any credibility.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.