of some sort. Now let it be said here that I am not too sure who James Hird actually is - apart from being a footballer, turned coach for some scandal ridden "Aussie Rules" football team. I have never met the man. I only know what I have seen in the papers and on the news services. And yes, it has been "headline" news.
I really don't need to know more. What I do know is that, if he had reached that level, he would have been under enormous pressure. He would have been under pressure to win.
If your team is not the winning team then you haven't done well enough. You haven't done what was expected of you. All that "sponsorship"? It's advertising and we expect it to reap results. We want to be able to say the individual, the team, the club we sponsored was top. Yes, yes we will pay you well - as long as you come top.
If you don't come top then it is a different story. There will be an inquiry into your performance. Have you done the best you could? No, of course you haven't. You didn't come top. You didn't win. Winning is all that matters.
Hird was involved in some sort of "supplements scandal" - giving players something to make them perform better, faster, stronger, and higher on the field. He wouldn't have been the only one. I don't doubt all clubs at that level look at such things and wonder how much they can get away with. The pressure must be enormous - just as much as any big company director trying to produce ever increasing profits for hungry shareholders.
It isn't about "sport" anymore. It isn't about the "game" being played. It is big business and you must perform. If you fail, you are out. If you get caught "cheating" then you are the one sent off the field - for good. It isn't the people right at the top. They blame you.
I don't doubt Hird had enormous demands made of him. When he failed he was kicked out. Has he had a job since? I doubt it. Was he bullied? Almost certainly. Has he been blamed for the penalties placed on the club? Yes. Have some people avoided him and others told him to stay away. Yes.
Maybe he tried to comply with all the demands made of him. He would never have dared to say, "The team isn't good enough. The talent isn't there. They won't win however hard I try and they try."
They had to believe they could win in any way possible.
Hird didn't manage to kill himself but, if the reports are correct, it was a serious attempt. At very least it was a howl for help that cannot be ignored.
I wonder what those at the top think. They are mouthing words of support but is the support really there - or are they thinking, "This man has embarrassed again"?
There's something wrong with so-called "sport". It certainly isn't about having fun.