Steve Smith is at the centre of a new controversy that’s been slammed by commentators.
After a grade T20 match for Sutherland at Manly Oval on Sunday, Smith was spotted out on the town enjoying a few drinks.
News Corp published an article describing Smith as “sad”, claiming he had “a massive 12-hour bender”.
The article said Smith was “bleary-eyed and unsteady on his feet as he crossed Manly Corso”, in the company of a “mystery brunette dressed in shorts and a white shirt, unbuttoned to reveal a black bra.”
He was reportedly out and about until his wife Dani picked him up at 2am.
The article has since been slammed, with Sydney Sixers general manager Jodie Hawkins calling it “journalism at its worst” and “disgraceful”.
Perception va Reality. Journalism at its worst. Disgraceful https://t.co/A6uylqRsVA
— Jodie Hawkins (@JodesHawko) November 6, 2018
If they’re wanting something to fill a whole page….. the @SouthernStars are beginning a World T20 this week. I’m sure that’s been mentioned heaps 🙄
— Alyssa Healy (@ahealy77) November 6, 2018
It’s a very disappointing article. The behaviour of @stevesmith49 has been exemplary since the South African tour. The reaction to this garbage story tells the @dailytelegraph everything. @MitchellGlenn @MattyA_Taylor
— Martin (@hammersaint) November 6, 2018
Honestly what a joke 😓 This is wrong on so many levels 🤦🏼♀️
— Krista Thomas (@krista_thomas) November 7, 2018
Manly-Warringah Cricket Club president Andrew Fraser, manager of stars like Mitchell Starc, Alyssa Healy and Meg Lanning, was reportedly with Smith that night and says he was “in good spirits and in control all the way”.
“I’m not sure why Steve would have been drowning his sorrows. His team had enjoyed a good win, he’d scored some runs and the big crowd gave him the warmest of receptions,” Fraser told Sporting News.
“He had a couple of drinks in our VIP area and then joined a group of us for dinner. It was all very civilised and controlled – it was hardly a bender.
“I actually think the whole day was a really good and positive experience for him after all that’s been going on and it’s disappointing to see it reported this way.”
Fraser also revealed how the “mystery brunette” was actually fiancée of Manly captain Jay Lenton.
Smith posed for photos and signed autographs for a vast number of the 2000-odd spectators who showed up to watch him play, as well as some who spotted him out that night.
Fraser was so impressed that he went to the trouble of writing to Cricket Australia to commend his actions during the game and that night.
“Steve accommodated everyone’s requests for photos/selfies & autographs – all done with a smile on his face for the duration of the afternoon – nothing was too hard for him,” he wrote.
“Our Australian players are scrutinised every day, both on & off the field & too often we only get to hear the negative news. So I felt compelled to write this note on behalf of our club.
“Steve Smith left an indelible mark on everyone that attended Manly Oval yesterday. He is truly a wonderful ambassador for cricket & we can’t wait to see him back dominating for Australia again soon!”
Commentator Ray Hadley also hit back at the News Corp depiction of Smith, which was critical of the fact that he was out drinking while Australia were being thrashed by South Africa in the first ODI.
“Did he run from a cab? Did he belt someone? Did he do anything wrong? He got on the drink with his teammates, having played in a grade match, saw his team humbled by the South Africans, stayed out to half past one and got picked up by his wife,” he said on Wednesday.
“He wasn’t drunk driving, he wasn’t annoying anyone. He got on the drink. He’s a human being, with all the frailties attached to it.
“He’s done nothing wrong. Yeah, it looks a bit ordinary, the photo, but so does everyone when they’ve had too much to drink.”