Controversy erupts after Ben Cousins lands TV gig with Channel 7
Former AFL player Ben Cousins has been hired by Channel 7 to co-present a weekly AFL segment on the station's Perth broadcast in a move which has sparked some degree of controversy.
Cousins will reportedly join host Adrian Barich for a segment aired each Wednesday, in which the former Brownlow Medallist will break down key matchups ahead of each weekend of footy.
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The 43-year-old's addition to the team, albeit in such a limited capacity, was not promoted by Channel 7.
The former West Coast Eagles and Richmond Tigers star's life had spiralled out of control once his AFL career came to an end, with a highly publicised drug problem resulting in frequent run-ins with the law.
His drug problems, which dated back to the mid-2000s, eventually culminated in his imprisonment in 2017 on a variety of charges, spending 12 months behind bars on 11 different charges, including breaching a violence restraining order taken out by his former partner.
Released from prison in 2018, Cousins again found himself in trouble in April 2021, when he was caught and fined $1500 for possession of methamphetamine.
Since the most recent indiscretion however, Cousins has appeared to make a concerted effort to turning over a new leaf - including playing suburban football for Queens Park Bulldogs, as well as a highly-touted appearance at last year's Brownlow Medal count, which was held in WA for the first time due to the border closures and lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne.
While Cousins' positive progress has generally been hailed by the AFL world, his turn on TV screens has raised eyebrows given his past domestic violence offences.
Many footy fans took to Twitter to discuss the move, with some supportive for the former AFL star but many others with reservations over whether he deserved the spot.
Road to redemption. Who gets decide it’s time for his road to redemption?
— Isy Mutebutton Oderberg (@yodaberg) March 16, 2022
Always in 2 minds about this. Do we continue to hold him in contempt for what were dispicable acts of dv, or do we bring him back into the fold whilst ensuring he is getting help for his issues and has taken ownership for his past.
— Richard Bayly (@bayly68) March 16, 2022
If Ben Cousins was Brown, Black, Asian or Muslim would he be given another chance to be on television?
It's great he is giving his rehabilitation a red hot go but I don't think he is a person that should be on television. Who's next, Andrew O'Keefe? #auspol #AFL #Australia
— Goodfellow (@MrGoodfellow666) March 16, 2022
Stokes is hiring Ben Cousins for a gig, @Channel7 is just a toxic boys club
— Angry Goddess 2 (@AngryGoddessx2) March 16, 2022
Love the new Breakdown with @adrianbarich and Ben Cousins on 7 News during the footy season, simply brilliant.#AFL #Footy
— Paul Persic (@Paul_Persic97) March 16, 2022
Double act with W. Carey...?!?
"Sick and Sicker"
— stu (@fourlarks3d) March 16, 2022
Ben Cousins' rocky road to redemption
Cousins played 238 games for the Eagles and returned in 2009 to play 32 games for Richmond before he retired at the end of 2010.
In 2021 he made his return to the footy field for Queens Park in the Perth Metro Football League.
He then attended the Brownlow Medal ceremony for the first time in 11 years, looking happy and healthy alongside friend Kellye Fergus.
When asked at the September ceremony if he was back on the right path, Cousins replied: "Yeah absolutely."
"It's definitely a big night. It's been a while since I've been to one of the football industry nights. So I'm looking forward to it."
Cousins was asked how much work it took for him to attend the Brownlow and who helped him.
"(There's been) a little bit behind the scenes, but that's part of it," he said.
"You find yourselves in different situations along the way. It's just great to be here tonight.
"There's been plenty of people. I won't go into it tonight.
"I'm just very fortunate that I've got the opportunity to come to one of football's great nights."
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