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Steve Smith breaks down

Why Australia needs to forgive Steve Smith

Unless you have a heart made of stone, watching former Australian Test captain Steve Smith break down in tears was difficult viewing.

Returning from South Africa in disgrace, Smith fronted the media - and the Australian public - to unreservedly apologise for his role in the ball-tampering scandal.

It resulted in tears, reminiscent of when Kim Hughes resigned at the Gabba in the 1980s, and consolation from his father who stood by his side.

This apology and breakdown should be the end of this. Smith's reputation is shattered, his career potentially over and his legacy tarnished forever.

But for some, it is not. The blood-letting should continue, he deserves everything he gets, some people wail.

But that is not the Australian way and it is time we let Smith grieve his career in private, because he has shed enough blood.

The media sharpens their axes

The Daily Mail's coverage of Steve Smith

Steve Smith's coverage in the Daily Mail

Some of the actions taken by media outlets has been nothing short of disgraceful.

The Daily Mail carried the headline 'Captain Cry Baby'. Intern Pete from the polarising Kyle and Jackie O show chimed in with: "hold your head high for what you have done because what’s actually been worse is what Davina and Dean did on Married At First Sight".

Since when did wannabe comedians attend cricket press conferences?

It is the biggest story in Australian cricket since Trevor Chappell bowled underarm at his brother's behest.

But that doesn't give the Australian public or its media the right to hack at the disgraced former captain until all that is left is bone.

It is time for Australia to accept his apology and move on.

We didn't hang Warnie

While this scandal has left everyone raw, there is precedent on a player coming back from 12 months of shame.

Australia and England's media are treating Smith's fall like vultures around a carcass, determined to peck out more meat to sell.

It is surprising in a way, then, that the voice of reason has come from India. A place where the Australian cricket team has long been regarded as bitter rivals.

Instead of licking their lips at Smith's admissions, The Times of India instead offered some consolation in the form of Shane Warne

Warnie was famously banned from all cricket for 12 months for taking a banned substance, but returned bigger and better than ever.

"A year is not a long time to be away from the sport. Shane Warne can testify to that, having served a 12-month ban in 2003 and returning (to take) 26 wickets in three Tests," The Times wrote.

"Here, the focus will be on how these three cricketers conduct themselves for the next year, and whether they will be welcomed back with ease and openness."

We need to give Steve Smith time to heal

The 12 month ban handed out to Steve Smith is unprecedented. His response in front the media immediately deserves some credit.

But hounding him for the next year and constantly reminding him of his shame will help no-one.

We all need to look in the mirror and honestly assess whether our lives have been mistake-free, and how many skeletons we have in our closets that we have never come forward and admitted exist.

Steve Smith has made a horrific error. The Australian public has been left ashamed and saddened by this mistake.

But it has been made now, he has been severely punished and publicly apologised.

Let's shoo the vultures away and let the beaten and broken man left stranded in cricket's desert heal. 

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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