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Here's All The Dumb-Ass Stuff That Has Happened Since Australia Was Caught Cheating At Cricket

It's been a long day. Or week. What year is it?

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If you have been on the internet sometime in the last seven days you have probably seen this image. I'm sorry.

Fox Sports

That's Australian cricket player Cameron Bancroft's crotch. More specifically, that's Cameron Bancroft shoving a small piece of sandpaper into his crotch. Again, I'm sorry.

Fox Sports

The reason you keep seeing this picture is the same reason I'm writing this story: the last seven days has seen what felt like Australia's entire population lose its shit over a scandal involving ball tampering (hehe), cricket, cheating, Whatsapp, the #MeToo movement, and a bunch of other shit. It's a whole thing. So strap your two eyeholes to the screen and enjoy the scroll as I try to explain how we got here.


Last Saturday, Australia was playing cricket against South Africa when young Australian player Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera using sandpaper to scratch up one side of the ball in an act that the game calls ball tampering. I won't get into the specifics of the rules of the game but just know that this is cheating and frowned upon a great deal. It's a no-no.

Fox Sports

Now there was a bit of controversy on the day because the big screens at the ground were playing the footage of Bancroft using the sandpaper to scratch the ball and the South African crowd were Not Loving It.


But later on the shit absolutely hit the fan because Australia's national cricket team captain, Steve Smith, came right out and confessed to the act of cheating AND said it happened after a premeditated discussion within the team's "leadership group". So Australia didn't just cheat on a whim. It was a whole planned-out thing.

Gallo Images / Getty Images

As soon as Smith confessed, the Australian public and the nation's media freaked the hell out big time. Here are just some of the totally casual, normal responses.

NT News
The Courier Mail
Herald Sun

Not only was the "Australia cheats at cricket now" story making headlines, but the think-piece generator had also been kicked into gear, and one person in particular thought it wise to compare the situation to the #MeToo movement.

The real #MeToo: a global movement highlighting the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault Cricket’s #MeToo: we put some tape on the ball.

Yeah, I know.


Then Australia's politicians got involved because it was a huge outrage and Everyone Has To Have Their Say. Here's Australia's prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull:

Breaking: Malcolm Turnbull says he's "shocked and bitterly disappointed" by the Australian cricket team's cheating. Says it seems "beyond belief". @theheraldsun #auspol

And here's the opposition leader, Bill Shorten:

Like all Australians, I can't quite believe what we saw last night. For the sake of all cricket lovers I hope Cricket Australia make it clear that this behaviour is unacceptable #SAvAUS #Auspol

And then other politicians also got in on the action because I guess they saw it as an easy way to score brownie points with the Australian public.



Australia's parents were also whacking their brains against their skulls trying to figure out how they would explain to their kids that Steve Smith, captain of the Australian cricket team, was a huge phony.

Anyone know Steve Smith’s direct mobile number? My 7 year old son just asked ‘Why would u want to cheat’? I don’t know what to say to him......#🙄

@Peter_Fitz @smh Steve Smith, what do I tell my 12 year old cricketer son ?

@CricketAus Today I told my 6 year old son that his hero Steve Smith had cheated. HE IS DEVASTATED!



And then there was this whole push AGAINST the outrage because, like, Australia has other issues ... refugee policy ... foreign wars ... and we can't possibly be outraged about multiple things at the same time. People on social media were keen to point out how quickly the country's politicians weighed in with damnation of Steve Smith and Co, but remained silent on topics such as Australia's controversial offshore detention system.

AUSTRALIA: Tampa: meh Children overboard: meh Offshore detention: meh Deaths in custody: meh Indigenous health gap: meh Environmental destruction: meh Workers ripped off: meh Ball tampering in cricket: OMG WE HAVE LOST OUR WAY WHAT HAS BECOME OF US?

Anyway, there was no immediate, formal sanction, so Australia actually continued playing the multi-day test match. Even Steve Smith! But it lost the match to South Africa in pretty humiliating fashion, by 322 runs (a lot).


So here we are in this huge-ass cricketing crisis and no-one knows what's going to happen. Some people are demanding Steve Smith be sacked, and others also want the vice-captain, David Warner, to be sacked, as Warner is part of the "leadership group" Smith said had hatched the plan for Bancroft to tamper with the ball. Also, a cricket commentator became emotional on air. Totally normal stuff.

They made Jim Maxwell cry. As part of their punishment, Australia's players should be forced to listen to this. Seriously. #SAvAUS

@Aggerscricket They made Jim Maxwell cry. Jim Maxwell. The bloody bastards.

Earlier this week Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland flew to South Africa to suss the whole thing out after struggling to really come to any conclusion in press conferences on home soil.

It was announced that Smith, Warner, and Bancroft were all suspended. They were all fined some cash and Bancroft was also given three demerit points (bad).
Michael Dodge / Getty Images

It was announced that Smith, Warner, and Bancroft were all suspended. They were all fined some cash and Bancroft was also given three demerit points (bad).

So while all of this is happening the Australian cricketing team is still in South Africa like:

New Line Cinema

And everyone realises, like, "Hey, the team still has to play one game lol", so Cricket Australia announces a dude named Tim Paine is the new captain of the team. (He's the one on the right).

Graham Denholm / Getty Images

Then James Sutherland says Smith, Warner and Bancroft will be sent home which is, like, fair enough.


But that just prompted even MORE media outrage. Suddenly we had profiles coming out about local cricket teams that were rethinking tattoos they had gotten that weren't really related to the whole saga at all but whatever.

'This is a disaster': Team gets tattoos after winning cricket final, wakes up to ball tampering scandal Pic: Supplied

And then other people were like: I DEMAND YOU APOLOGISE TO MY MOTHER.

Steve Smith should say sorry to my mum for ball tampering scandal | Ben Smee

Oh, and we also had people out here interviewing kids who just happen to play cricket and who were now rethinking their entire lives or whatever. To be young again.

From heroes to villains: Juniors crushed by Aussie #cricket scandal

So all of this drama continues to unfold and it's getting round-the-clock coverage in Australia's media and meanwhile the British (the damn British) are laughing their cotton socks off because Australia beat the heck outta them in a Big Deal series of matches last year called The Ashes. But now they can just say "Australia probably cheated" and feel better about themselves.

Damn Brits.


So then we have a few other ways into the capital-D Drama because apparently vice-captain David Warner has left the team's Whatsapp group which, as everyone knows, is the ultimate act of betrayal in 2018.


But then he apparently rejoined the group so whatever, idk.


So then Warner, Smith, and Bancroft FINALLY start the long trip home. There are heaps of cameras and they have a police escort because obviously that's where we are now.

#BREAKING: There have been dramatic scenes as Steve Smith left South Africa, the cricketer taunted by booing as he was escorted through the airport by armed police. #9Today

This is disgraceful ! @stevesmith49 is not a criminal !!!!!

And a few brands announce they are pulling their sponsorship of the Cheating Boys.

BREAKING: Sanitarium Weet-bix has "ended its relationship" with Steve Smith, following ball-tampering scandal. #TenNews

#BREAKING: The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has dropped @stevesmith49 as its brand ambassador over his role in the cricket cheating scandal.

Finally, on Wednesday evening it was announced that after an investigation and much thought both Smith and Warner would receive 12-month suspensions from playing state and international cricket. Bancroft copped nine months.

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann was cleared of any involvement.

Gallo Images / Getty Images

And then I woke up on Thursday like "Jesus Christ, that's gotta be the end of it, surely?" BUT I WAS WRONG.


Because now there was a backlash about the harshness of the penalties. Great.

Honestly, this a bit too harsh. As much as I hate them, I never wanted them to get a ban of more than 6 months. #SandpaperGate @stevesmith49 @davidwarner31

Steve Smith copped 12 months because hundreds of Twitter Dads don’t know how to explain the concept of a mistake to their unco kids

Steve Smith I think is a good guy who made a huge mistake ... He needed punishing but I think this is too harsh ... Bancroft who I don’t know was led astray but deserved punishing but again too harshly IMO ... The other guy I really don’t care about ...

David Warner has even apologised on Twitter.

As of Thursday afternoon Smith, Warner, and Bancroft are almost home. They're on planes in the sky. They probably wish they could stay there a while.

This is Cricket's JFK moment. The ball is JFK, Smith is Lee Harvey Oswald, I am the car, the road is integrity- the grassy knoll is a grassy knoll, and the CIA? Correct- they are the cartoon duck that walks across the screen sometimes

Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Brad Esposito at

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