It's fair to say there's a fair bit of cynicism mixed in with the feel-good redemption story surrounding Channel 7 Perth's decision to hand disgraced footballer Ben Cousins an on-air presenter's role.
While everyone is entitled to a second chance – or a 45th in Ben's case – and it’s great to see the Brownlow medallist seemingly getting his life together, you wonder if the same opportunity would have arrived had the 44-year-old been a rank-and-file member of the press.
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In a week where some of the country's top media operators were culled as a result of savage jobs cuts at the ABC, Cousins has landed a plum gig. He'll read the morning sports news three times a week despite his rap sheet.
Satirical website The Chaser summed up the thoughts of many when it mockingly "quoted" a 7News "executive", writing: "When we saw his criminal record, we knew he would be a perfect fit here. His resume of crimes was just outstanding! Rich white men who have committed crimes all deserve a second, third, or maybe even a fifth chance at a high paying TV job."
Both parties – Channel 7 and Cousins – have had to make a pact with the devil to get this deal done. It wasn't that long ago Cousins was disparaging the same media group he is now a part of. "The media, who had been on me like a Spanish Inquisition, wanted the apology, of course, so they could pick over it for days," he wrote in his autobiography, recalling a moment when the West Coast Eagles and AFL ordered him to make a statement about his drug problems.
"I knew they had a job to do, but why should I appease them, reward them for the pressure they'd put on me? Channel 7 were hunting me. My whole attitude was 'f**k them'."
Ben Cousins takes up new presenter role
We can only assume both parties are now on much better terms otherwise this year's office Christmas party could be quite the event.
Cousins appears to have turned his life around and, for that, he should be applauded. He comes across as genuinely appreciative of the opportunity Channel 7 has offered him and is reportedly working hard to learn the ropes and nail the role. Good luck to him.
But can we please dial down the hero worshipping? Cousins’ past behaviour left many people unimpressed so excuse them if they choose to get their morning news from another source from now on.
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