Former league star Craig Field – who knows a thing or two about being on the wrong side of the public and the always-hungry media – exclusively told The Roar he thinks the media should back off Ben Barba.
“It’s hard mate,” Field said.
“It’s easy for the media to print bad crap, but they have never been in the position of an NRL player. This kid has asked for help, give it to him.
“There has been plenty of blokes getting away with the same crap but it doesn’t get printed because they think it’s not a problem.
“Then they get deeper and deeper until it’s too late for help [and] then the NRL kicks them out?”
Three weeks ago Ben Barba was on top of the rugby league world. A three try haul for the Indigenous All Stars at Suncorp Stadium had the brilliant fullback ready for another blockbuster season.
2012 was Barba’s year.
A Dally M Medal and a grand final appearance for the Canterbury Bulldogs had the fans craving more. The humble kid from Mackay had become an overnight superstar.
The fans loved him and the media followed every shimmy and every try. And as his star rose, so did the media’s hunger for more.
But his star did not just rise, it was shot out of a giant blue and white cannon and the public was right behind him pushing and pushing and pushing.
But you can only ascend so high before you start to fall again.
With one short statement from the Bulldogs on Monday morning, Barba went from hero to zero. Just like that, the evil underbelly of Sydney’s rugby league addiction reared its ugly head.
Without knowing the reasons or the facts, that evil underbelly and its sharpened claws hit social media and spewed attack after attack.
So far what we know is that Barba has gone to the Bulldogs’ chief executive Todd Greenberg and asked for help. A desperate professional athlete dealing with the very real and very normal problems that come with the break-up of a personal relationship.
Alcohol, gambling and even domestic violence have been thrown about by fans and media alike. The rumours continued to clog social media all afternoon.
Unless these matters are criminal, do we have the right to prod and push until we get the truth from unwilling participants?
Where is the line in the sand? Why shouldn’t the Bulldogs keep this in-house?
If you were to go to your employer and ask for help, would you expect them to turn around and tell anyone within the sound of their voice about your personal problems?
Greenberg fronted the media Monday afternoon.
“This is not one issue,” Greenberg said.
“It is the manifestation of a number of issues stemming from the breakdown of a personal relationship.
“Ben has lost his way and we need to help him find his way back.
“He is not ready to play football. He needs help.
“If he can come out of this a better person I have no doubt he’ll come out a better footballer as well.”
Published on theroar.com.au