Poster boy Hunt will have ARU seeing red
WITHOUT pre-empting any legal outcome, disillusionment and disgust will be the over-riding reaction of many sports lovers to the events of recent days involving former Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Suns pin-up boy Karmichael Hunt.
Clearly a charge does not necessarily mean a crime has been committed.
But even if Hunt is cleared by the legal process, the stain will stick and at the very least the billboard facet of his three-code career would appear to be over. Surely the ARU will no longer use him as their poster boy.
Obviously Hunt is not alone in this drug scandal that has enveloped the three big football codes.
But he is by far the biggest fish caught, so he generates the major headlines. And that means he spontaneously taints all three codes he has played at the elite level.
The charge of supplying cocaine is quite definitely serious, and seems in complete contrast to the role-model image he presented during the time in question.
Hunt seemed to be a young man who had everything. An only child, he has wonderful, adoring parents, and is married with two young daughters. He recently moved into a new home in the trendy inner-Brisbane suburb of Hendra, for which he paid almost $1.9million.
Sure, the rumoured $1-million-a-year contract with the Queensland Reds may not rank Hunt highly on the BRW sport rich list, but it is still remuneration of which we mere mortals can only dream.
And it comes on the back of what was a windfall PR package from the AFL - a reported $1.5million-per-year from 2010 to be the pin-up code hopper for the newly-formed Suns.
Don't get me wrong - I don't begrudge Karmichael Hunt or any professional sportsman the money they earn, even though their pay is grossly disproportionate to those who work nine to five. Their career is short and they carry their injuries for life.
But if they are smart - and it seemed Hunt was - with a clean reputation they can not only set themselves up financially, their status will take them to even greater heights post career.
Media work, product endorsement, administration and even board appointments are the carrots that can be dangled.
For Hunt, who was anointed immediate rank and delegated enormous trust after a mere few months with the Reds, this new world was seemingly another oyster.
Here was a rare example of someone who could speak and teach with authority on both rugby codes, as well as the AFL.
Now, almost certainly, that knowledge is worth zilch.