Sport Sport Focus Carney joins sport’s social media casualties

Carney joins sport’s social media casualties

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The Leaning Tower of Pisa took 199 years to complete and is one of Italy’s great cultural icons.

Todd Carney’s appendage is an altogether different beast, although it achieved a fame of its own over the weekend after a photograph of it performing an improbable feat of plumbing was widely distributed on social media.

The link between the two is not immediately obvious, although Carney’s manager drew that bow when defending his client, whose five-year, $3 million contract was torn up by NRL club the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday.

“It’s a set up, like when people stand in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa,” David Riolo said of the photograph, which shows Carney seemingly urinating towards his own mouth.

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Carney was similarly miffed, saying it was “gut wrenching” to hear on Saturday night that the image had been made public. “I didn’t know that was out there. I didn’t know it would surface like this. It made me feel sick straight away,” he told Channel Nine.

Perhaps more extraordinary, it was not the first time Carney had performed the act. “It was just a prank. The boys have seen me doing it before. I didn’t think there was going to be a photo taken.”

The man who took the photo said he felt terrible. He said he sent it only to his brother, whose phone was subsequently stolen and the image disseminated.

“I accept what I done was wrong. I should never have sent the photo at all, or even taken the photo in the first place.” Quite.

Having seen Carney in such an intimate environment, the fearless snapper felt qualified to declare that: “I never would have wished this upon anyone, especially Todd, he was a really nice person.”

The sacking prompted a discussion about whether Carney would have been in such trouble had his act not been captured on camera and tweeted to the world at large.

Veteran rugby league writer Steve Mascord was moved to existentialism on Twitter:

Other responses cited more honourable motives for such behaviour, such as Mahatma Gandhi (who drank his own urine for health reasons) or Bear Grylls (who did so for survival).

Certainly Riolo was of the view that Carney was harshly treated.

“Todd’s paid a very, very heavy price for a photo that he didn’t want out there or upload himself. It was supposed to be kept between mates,” he said on Fairfax Radio.

He said the fact that the photo would be on the internet “for his family and everyone to see for future generations” was already a huge price to pay, without also losing his job.

For his part, Carney said he felt betrayed by the club. Which would put the Sharks in good company, because the Canberra Raiders and the Sydney Roosters have also sacked the trouble-plagued Carney.

There is clearly also some disquiet among Carney’s teammates about the sacking, with a meeting between the players and club chief executive Steve Noyce on Monday described as “emotional and occasionally fiery”.

ABC sports broadcaster Debbie Spillane was less forgiving, tweeting:

Carney is not the first sportsperson to be sacked as a result of photographs that have appeared on social media. Others have merely been embarrassed by images that are destined to become part of their permanent digital footprint.

He joins a roll call of such players, including:

Bootsma gets booted

Carlton coach Mick Malthouse and Josh Bootsma. Photo: Getty

Carlton this season sacked defender Josh Bootsma, who was caught sending an explicit photo of himself to a teenage girl on social media platform Snapchat.

The Warrior and the TV star

Konrad Hurrell. Photo: Getty
Konrad Hurrell. Photo: Getty

Auckland Warriors NRL player Konrad Hurrell was this season fined $5000 after a video of New Zealand actress Teuila Blakely performing a sex act on him while he was driving a car went public. The image went out on Snapchat and found it way on to Instagram.

Saints in birthday suits

Nick Riewoldt
Nick Riewoldt. Photo: Getty

The St Kilda Football Club was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2010 when nude images of its captain Nick Riewoldt and then teammate Nick Dal Santo were posted online against their wishes.

The photographs were taken while the players were on an end of season trip in the United States and were taken from the computer of St Kilda player Sam Gilbert. Riewoldt said he had asked Gilbert to delete the photographs, while Gilbert said they were stolen from his computer by a schoolgirl.

In the Federal Court, Justice Shane Marshall ordered that the ordered that the images be removed from the girl’s computer, although their electronic footprint remains.

Not just the blokes

Stephanie Rice
Stephanie Rice. Photo: Getty

Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice was the subject of extraordinary criticism after she posted a pictures of herself in a policeman’s uniform and, later, a skimpy black and white swimsuit.

And that’s not all. Rice was dropped by Jaguar Australia and several other sponsors for using derogatory language on Twitter. “Suck on that f–gots,” she posted after Australia defeated South Africa in a rugby union Test in 2010. Rice later apologised and removed the comment.

Fevola reveals Bingle in the shower

Lara Bingle
Lara Bingle. Photo: AAP

Carlton star Brendan Fevola posted a nude photo of model Lara Bingle. Bingle was in the shower, and was outraged at the breach of privacy.

Conn and Warner’s Twitter battle

david warner
David Warner. Photo: Getty

David Warner launched his attack against two of Australia’s longest-serving cricket writers, Robert Craddock and Malcolm Conn, saying:

“Shock me @crashcraddock1 talking s**t about ipl jealous prick. Get a real job. All you do is bag people. #gatelife”.

Conn did not hold back and responded: “@davidwarmer31 cricket is a real job? Please. Most people pay to play. Million dollar cricketers milking the IPL are hardly the best judges.”

Who let the dogs out? Oh, Monaghan

Joel Monaghan. Photo: AAP

Former Canberra Raiders player Joel Monaghan was photographed in a compromising position with a dog during his team’s post-season celebrations in 2010.

The picture was so bad, that when it appeared on social media, the RSPCA got involved. Monaghan left the club.