Tuesday 3 April 2012: Career On The Rocks
For those who normally like the bird photos I am afraid this is a bit of a rugby blip rant tonight. Normal service will return soon, in the meantime here is the cutest rabbit picture ever.
Never in the history of the sport have so many column inches been given to one player who has played so little. I am of course talking of Gavin Henson, who was sacked by Cardiff Blues yesterday after an incident on a flight back from Edinburgh.
What interested me in this story was how it evolved over twenty four hours. Initially there was a sad inevitability about it all; Henson has after all past history of suspensions at Toulon, and left Saracens after playing only four games for them. He also left Ospreys under a cloud after they stood by him whilst he was injured and pursued his media interests.
Today the story seems to have changed slightly, now Henson is the victim in all this, and Cardiff Blues have acted badly in sacking him. It seems to some Henson can never do any wrong.
Now I am not really pro Henson or anti Henson, but what I am is anti ridiculous Henson hype! People seem to lose sight of reality when it comes to him. To listen to some he won the 2005 and 2008 Grand Slams single handedly, indeed with "gasps of admiration" according to this BBC webpage. Even back then he caused unrest in the dressing room with his autobiography, which openly criticised the management and team he was playing with at the time.
And still after all this people are willing to blame others for Hensons wanderings from the straight and narrow. Where were the Cardiff Blues management they ask? Why were they not controlling his drinking that weekend? It was as if by not telling him, it was tantamount to putting the drink in his hand, and allegedly loading the other with ice cubes.
For the record, Gavin Henson is a thirty year old man, where does a little self discipline come into this? If I had got drunk and caused a disturbance on a flight home that resulting in a six month ban (was that an over reaction by FlyBe as well? ) whilst representing my business, I would imagine my career prospects would have been served a terminal blow too.
But others have been served more leniently, and it is just a smoke screen to off load an expensive player from Cardiff Blues creaking budget, some commentators wail. The other players did not play for Cardiff Blues, they have disciplined how they seen fit, this does not make Cardiff Blues wrong, neither does it make the other teams right, they are separate companies and therefore not comparable. As for the second point, with the Blues dropping players like hot potatoes, surely common sense would say this was a time to keep your nose clean more than ever! Whilst on my final run in of my redundancy, I had to bite my tongue on things that were happening around me more than anyone will ever believe, simply as I could not jeopardise my final pay-off.
My final point is this, we cannot really judge if Henson was a lost talent to Wales. He has played so infrequently over the past four years there is no way to tell. The results over the past twelve months put pay to the myth we rely on him. Yes he clearly has talent, but that is his talent to do what he wants with. I just hope he doesn't look back on his life in fifteen years time and it's full of regret. If he doesn't, then good on him, and the best of luck to him, if he does there is going to be an awfully long queue of people lining up to say; "told you so".