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Newspaper article and press conference:

Steve Smith’s message to a heartbroken 9-year-old fan
Jenny Noyes – The Sydney Morning Herald
(30 March 2018)

Most of you would be wondering why I would have chosen to include something about Steven Smith … yes, he admitted to cheating and brought the game of cricket into disrepute, but we all make mistakes and that’s what I believe makes us human.

I am a huge fan of cricket and waking up to the news that Australia had ball-tampered was devastating to hear and see. Even being a South African and supporting South Africa in this series, I have followed and idolised Australian cricket since before I can remember. The greats Ponting, McGrath, Warne, Hussey and Steve Smith. I will admit what made it hard to digest about the news was that it involved and included one of my favourite players, the world’s best batsman Steve Smith.

But anyone who has followed the ongoing crisis would agree that Steve Smith’s leadership is paramount. The way he has taken responsibility for himself and his team’s actions has undeniably been one of the greatest acts of leadership off a cricket field. Many people would have been tempted to throw others “under the bus” but Steve Smith owned up to his mistakes and I believe that it was his characteristics of honesty and integrity (although jeopardised on the field) that really show who he is. His press conference which can be viewed here, was full of true emotion and the way he spoke when opening up to the public was pure vulnerability. Being vulnerable is something that the interns of 2018 are learning to deal with as we explore ourselves in a much deeper perspective and finding out who we are as leaders and people.

Back to a more serious note about why I’m including this in the library. Yes it fits the tags of vulnerability, leadership and courage incredibly well but I think the tag it fits most clearly is “character.”

Steven Smith has apologised to us via press conference but an apology less known was when he personally sent a 9 year kid who was a major fan of his a message saying how sorry he was. That, in my humble opinion, is the character of Steve Smith. Not the label of “cheat” that some people are using but someone who is incredibly apologetic for a mistake they made. We are a society that idolises elite athletes and yes the three players on the team let us down but they are only human and forgiving them should be at the forefront of our minds.

We sometimes forget that our heroes in sport are just like us. They have feelings, they have families and they aren’t as invincible as we believe they all are.

I personally would like to say that I am behind Steve Smith and thank him for his apology to the country. I don’t condone what took place in Cape Town but I also know that all three involved are incredibly sorry for what occurred and apologising and owning up to their mistakes takes courage and vulnerability. Something that I stand for.

*These are the views of Matt Wesley (the writer) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organisation (National Student Leadership Forum)*

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