May 11, 2006

Sex, Highs and Videotape - the tale of a flawed genius

By H Natarajan

Photos of Shane Warne stripped to his underwear, cavorting with two topless women and the salacious details of his encounter that was published by the News of the World and subsequently picked up by TV, Internet and newspapers all over the world has thrown up number of questions.

Should Warne be viewed as irresponsible role-model or should we treat him as a sex-addict who needs urgent medical attention? Where do the media draw the line with regard to a public figure’s private life?

Firstly, let’s examine what constitutes a sex-addict? A visit to the Sex Addict Anonymous® website gave an interesting insight. The website lists 12 questions under A Useful Tool for Self-Assessment”, at the end of which it states that if somebody has answered yes to more than one of the 12 questions he should seek out additional literature as a resource or to attend a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting for further assessment. Anybody who has followed Warne’s career would agree that he would have to necessarily answer “yes” to several of those questions listed in the website. So it’s obvious that he is sick in that respect and like some prominent Hollywood actors in the past needs to put himself in the hands of a de-addiction therapist.

Now if somebody is as helplessly sick as Warne appears to be, should he be treated with greater understanding or should we slam him for being a playboy who has used his fame, name, wealth, good looks and position in the society to obscene levels? There are no easy answers to the question and it’s inevitable that the jury will be divided.

Even the loss of opportunity to captain Australia and, even more importantly, the traumatic end to his 10-year-old marriage followed by an expensive law suit have done nothing to curb his death-wish.

Warne obsession for carnal pleasures has made him sitting duck for tabloid journalism of the yellow kind. His celebrity status and a trail of sexual misadventures made him a prime target for gold diggers and the yellow press. The serious fall-out of this behavior is that he will remain vulnerable to women who have no qualms about sleeping with him and making a quick buck by selling the story to hungry tabloids.

Is Warne such a victim in his latest sexual romp? One does not know if there was a price tag for the story that News of the World got, but the fact that both girls gave raunchy details to the paper does make high that probability. Coralie Eichholz, 25, said: “Shane blew our minds. He was so fit. I'd give him top marks for more than satisfying us. He was talking dirty all the time. It was full-on, hardcore and we had a great time. In the trouser department, he was above average" while Emma Kearney went into ecstasy: "Shane's a stallion and very willing to experiment. He loved playing around with the inflatable and was up for anything”.

There could be a greater damage lying in store for Warne. It’s obvious that the threesome encounter has been taped. Now if he has had sex, it’s obvious that he would have been captured fully in the nude. That could surface to haunt him again at a later time and cause greater damage.

The litany of Warne’s transgressions runs long: in 1998, he was fined for accepting money from an Indian bookmaker; in 2000 he was stripped of the Australian vice-captaincy for pestering a 22-year-old English nurse with lewd calls; in 2003 he was thrown out of the World Cup after he was found to have taken a banned diuretic, a year in which he admitted to having an affair with a Melbourne stripper; last year in England he was relentless, among the many reported was the story that he made love with 31-year-old Kerrie Collimore on the bonnet of his car.

He pleaded with his wife that he will take medical aid, but that did not help matters. His wife decided enough was enough and, going by what has happened since, is unlikely to have any remorse. That Warne has lost widespread sympathy is apparent. A lady, on reading his plea to seek medical help, got sarcastic by saying that he probably saw that as an opportunity to meet some more nurses – an obvious reference to an earlier episode.

Warne’s latest sexcapade hit the headlines at a time when there is talk of him signing a $300,000 deal with Channel 9. Clearly, that is in jeopardy as are several others of his endorsements. Warne should know that as he once earlier lost a lucrative contract with Channel 9 under similar circumstances.

While nobody can dispute his genius as a player, his life off the field has played havoc with his image. The maverick is also a chain smoker – not a great advert by a top sportsman. And when pictures of him with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and trousers hanging around his knees appeared in the papers, it showed him as an irresponsible ambassador against anti-smoking.

Cricket has seen its share of lusty men. But there is only name that will be remembered for a long time when it comes to the ultimate playboy cricketer. The name is Shane. Shane Warne.