Two wrongs

They don’t make a right, and so on. If you were on twitter this morning and happened to be following David Warner and journalist Malcolm Conn then you were in for a show. Warner, upon waking to a Robert Craddock penned article that apparently touched a nerve, fired a tweet in Craddock’s direction – Craddock didn’t reply, but Malcolm Conn did. And then it was on. This wasn’t the post I’d expected nor intended to publish this weekend, but there you go, things change.

I’m not going to take a particular side, I can see it from both angles, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Neither party was innocent, they both said and did things that they shouldn’t have, and that it all played out publicly via twitter didn’t help.

It’s been roughly 10 hours since the tirade ended, and given that there has been nothing more said by Warner, it is (unfortunately) looking like it wasn’t the result of a hacked account as many though it might have been. BUT, if it turns out that it was a result of account hacking then I’ll update this piece accordingly.

What we had was a case of a player perhaps being overly touchy – no doubt something to do with the time of day (early hours in the Indian morning), and journalists adding unnecessary fuel to the fire. Was Warner’s initial tweet out of line? Yes, of course it was. Sure, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and professional sports men/women are constantly criticised for not offering one, but this is the reason why they usually keep their opinions out of direct public view. Speak their mind, get crucified for it. I’m sure they see it as a lose, lose scenario in most cases.

That Warner had taken such harsh exception to the Craddock article to begin with is also odd, but again I’d be surprised if there weren’t other ‘factors’ contributing to the anger he was expressing. The article in question was targeting the IPL, but there was nothing directed at Warner, or his team. That itself was weird.

Where things went awry was when Conn – who hadn’t been targeted by Warner at that point – chimed in at the defence of fellow journalist Craddock. What followed was a significantly long back-and-forth between the two (with a couple of other accounts pitching in occasionally) in what became an increasingly pointless, and childish (if not slightly amusing) display.

I’ve seen people express that they believe Warner was in the right, while others firmly believe Conn was in the right. I don’t think either of them were. If anyone was in the right it was Craddock for not getting involved – whether or not this was good management on his part, or simply a stroke of luck because he wasn’t trawling twitter in the early hours of a Saturday morning we don’t know. Instead, his properly thought out response came hours later via the correct outlet (ie. not twitter).

Like I said, Warner’s tweet – although entitled to his opinion – was poor form, but just as poor was Conn feeling the need to  jump into an argument that wasn’t even directed at him. It was probably Warner’s crack at the journalistic profession that caught Conn’s eye, but he could’ve just been the ‘bigger man’ and ignored it – the whole thing probably would’ve ended at that point if he had. I’m fairly certain Warner isn’t the first person to slag a cricketing journalist off via twitter in the past week, but simply because he’s one of the guys they write about on a daily basis does that make it ok to engage in a war of words? No, I’m sorry, it doesn’t. If some random punter (a sports fan, not the former Aussie captain) had posted the same tweet would Conn have engaged, of course not, he would have just brushed it aside and gotten on with his day. He’s a journalist, surely he should be used to the opinions of himself and his peers being disagreed with.

Just as Warner had a crack at journalism, Conn made the effort to criticise Warner for his lack of runs in the recent test series and the 0-4 result – there was no mention of the 400+ runs at 34 including 4 50’s that Warner has scored during the IPL. Conn’s need to use Warner’s tirade as reason to bring up why he thought Brad Haddin had been recalled to the Ashes squad as Vice-Captain was unnecessary. Yes, he’s entitled to his opinion, but using early morning twitter rage to determine someone’s suitability for cricket vice-captaincy is like a cricket claiming journalism isn’t a ‘real job’ or a journalist who thinks they know how to play cricket. Oh wait…

After more than a dozen tweets it all died down, and was followed by the unsurprising analysis by various people (Conn included), across various forms of media. The thing is, that had Conn not fired back a reply to Warner’s original impulsive tweet then the tirade would likely never have followed and they would have had nothing to report on except that initial tweet – which, if we’re being honest, wasn’t even worth the attention of a single reply, let alone an hour+ long public exchange and the following discussion – including this one.

Warner – assuming it was indeed him – will undoubtably be made to regret what happened, and that should be punishment enough. There is no need for fines or suspensions or any other ridiculous measure – especially not in a week when players have been caught spot-fixing in the IPL – there are clearly bigger issues in cricket that need addressing, Dave Warner expressing his opinion is not one of those issues. Craddock won’t regret the article he wrote, nor should he, after all that’s his job. Conn shouldn’t regret defending his profession, but should regret engaging with Warner and adding fuel to a fire that didn’t need to be there in order to do so. And should it turn out to be a result of hacked account, which is admittedly looking less likely now, some doubt will still hang over Warner and Conn will likely look a little silly for his initial knee-jerk reaction. No one wins.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, it is one of the most basic things we’re taught as kids. But when grown men starting acting like kids, something I’m sure we’ve all done it at some point – perhaps not in public, but we’ve done it – then it makes you wonder if we learnt anything at all as kids.

Opinions are like arseholes, everyone’s got one. So, can we all just get back to playing/watching/writing about cricket now instead of fighting about it? Ok, good.