Why David Warner ‘hid behind kids’
AS with every moment of this Australian cricket crisis, there's two ways of looking at David Warner's arrival at Sydney Airport.
The Test cricket star was roundly slammed for appearing to hide behind his children as he worked his way past reporters and cameraman after touching down on home soil.
"As you can understand it's been a tough and emotional time for my wife and the kids," Warner said.
"At this present time, you'll hear from me in a couple of days. At the moment my priorities are to get these kids in bed, rest up and let my mind be clear so I can think."
As crisis management consultant Anthony McClellan from AMC Media told The Australian, it may not have been deliberate but "the imagery was 'I'm hiding behind my kids'."
But while it was easy to stick the boot into Warner, the alternative may have been much worse.
As former Australian netball captain and mother-of-two Liz Ellis noted, what would the angry mob have said if Warner had left wife Candice alone to transport their two girls out of the arrival lounge?
"I totally understand that (Warner's decision)," Ellis told Sports Sunday. "People that have been critical of David coming through with his kids - the other option is that he comes through by himself and he lets his wife take the kids and something happens, someone is abusive or you don't know what could happen in those circumstances. So I think he's done the right thing there."
Former Australian cricket captain Ian Chappell agreed. "I don't blame him," Chappell said. "I understand David's position saying I've got to get these kids home to bed."
Candice Warner gave a frank insight into the how the ball-tampering scandal has affected their young family after Warner, who was banned for 12 months by Cricket Australia after being accused of masterminding a ploy to scuff the ball illegally in Cape Town, broke down during a press conference.
Warner became particularly emotional while apologising to wife Candice and the couple's two young children for "putting you through this" but was widely criticised for not answering questions directly on Saturday.
It's understood the opener was advised to take that approach because there is a strong chance he will take the code-of-conduct charge to a formal hearing.
"I"m sure there were things he wanted to say but he just couldn't get it out. He is hurting. He is seriously, seriously struggling and he's not in a great headspace," Candice Warner told News Corp Australia. "He's just such an emotional wreck.
"I feel like it's all my fault and it's killing me - it's absolutely killing me.
"I haven't been much of a support because I've been a wreck. I'm really not well. If people could understand ... if they could just sympathise just slightly with the month that he's had."
Candice made it clear there was no excuse for her husband's mistake, but noted their family had endured a tough month in South Africa.
Both of them were targeted with vulgar and personal abuse that centred on Candice's tryst with Sonny Bill Williams over 10 years ago, long before she met Warner.
Warner raged in the staircase at a comment Proteas keeper Quinton de Kock made about his wife during the first Test, while Cricket South Africa officials overruled venue security at the second Test and ordered them to allow Williams masks into the ground.
Coach Darren Lehmann described fan behaviour in the third Test as "disgraceful" and the worst he's ever witnessed in the sport.
"Seeing them wearing the masks. To have people staring and pointing and laughing at me, to have the signs, to have, you know, the songs made up about me - I would have to sit there and cop that," Candice Warner said.
"Dave would come home from the game and see me in tears in the bedroom, and the girls just looking at their mum.
"He had to just cope with it. Coming home today I walked into the room and I was in tears and our daughters were so upset. They were like 'why you crying, Mummy?'.
"I had to make an excuse ... it's really hard to explain to kids and they don't understand."
- with AAP