Kent: Cam Smith has lost sight of fact from fiction
For many years he suspected everybody and forgave nobody. As the champion of his field, that was his world.
In just a week it has nearly all turned around.
If the publishers want to salvage what is left of Cameron Smith's $400,000 advance for his autobiography, the chances of which diminish by the day, then somebody must tell him to stop talking.
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Smith is rapidly being recognised as a self invention.
He continues to rewrite history, each day bringing a new version as Smith struggles to grasp what is truth and what is refuted.
As late as Thursday night Smith was on the ABC TV's 7.30 program, where he received no cross examination, putting across a version of truth that is completely untrue, as it was in all the days previously.
"Unfortunately some of the excerpts in my book were printed in a way that were a little bit misleading," he told 7.30.
How so, is ridiculous. They were excerpts, cut and pasted straight from the manuscripts.
Still … "I believe they tried to say that I blamed David Gallop for exactly what happened in Melbourne. He didn't play any part of what happened in Melbourne. But the part he played was in the punishments that were handed down and really the way it all transpired," he said.
Nobody wrote Smith tried to blame Gallop for what happened in Melbourne, or even tried to suggest he was somehow the architect of what happened.
Each story written told about Smith's criticism of Gallop for punishing the Storm because Smith, in his book, wrote: "My anger is mainly directed at the NRL for the penalties they handed down and the way the whole matter was handled. And for that I blame David Gallop."
Yet the great rewrite of history continued.
Smith, still on 7.30: "My frustration was the way in which it was handled, where, it was a salary cap breach that was uncovered and punishments were handed down before any investigation had started."
Gallop had already put this right by Monday, so angry after reading Smith's extracts he volunteered to write for the Daily Telegraph: "The situation at the Storm was under investigation for months.
"Our investigation had uncovered evidence of substantial non-disclosure of player payments putting the Storm over the cap for a number of years, including evidence of a dual-contracting system being used for champion players."
Smith attacks Gallop while refusing to acknowledge he had one of those dual-contracts.
The great revisionists like Smith have a tremendous ability to subtly shift the point of argument, like Smith switching from the injustice of Melbourne's titles being stripped, for which there is no defence, to the timing of the penalties.
He does not recognise the NRL was six months into the investigation when the Storm were kicked out of the 2010 for premiership race.
Or does he acknowledge the NRL had so much information that when Storm chairman Rob Moodie was ordered to Sydney he immediately confessed, even though the full extent of cheating would not be revealed for 12 more months.
"And unfortunately," Smith continued on 7.30, "assumptions were made that many people in our club had knowledge about what had gone on. It was just completely false."
Dear oh dear. Not only has Gallop confirmed the NRL had evidence some of the "champion" players, such as Smith, knew what was happening, the NRL also had concrete evidence several staff did, as well, even though the Storm have conveniently let blame sit with then-chief executive Brian Waldron.
To believe that Waldron, six months in the job after a career in the AFL, knew the contract values of players intimately enough to act alone is the height of fantasy.
The NRL gave the Storm a break, choosing not to prosecute those individuals, including Smith, personally, under the belief that stripping their two premierships was punishment enough.
Yet Smith has continued spending his week forgiving nobody.
He downplayed his fallout with Cooper Cronk, even after it was known throughout the game they stopped speaking when Cronk left the Storm.
Smith told The Australian on Thursday: "The story saying he is upset that I didn't attend his wedding, Cooper has never said that to me … To say I don't want to be friends with Cooper, that is not true."
Again, more diversion.
They have no contact with each other because Smith stopped talking to Cronk. If even a thread of friendship still existed, why wouldn't Smith ring Cronk and ask if there is a problem? He has not.
His book brought Wayne Bennett into the argument, breaking out Bennett's criticism of the Storm's wrestling in 2008 and then suggesting that Bennett was coaching wrestling when he entered Origin camp in 2003.
Bennett ridiculed Smith's suggestion at a Queensland press conference on Tuesday.
Smith manipulated it again in Thursday's Australian.
"Someone questioned Wayne and said 'Cameron Smith had a go at you, saying you brought in wrestling.' I didn't say that," claimed Smith.
Claiming Smith "had a go" at Bennett was a smokescreen to explain Bennett's response.
The question, from Nine reporter Ben Dobbin, was not bait: "Wayne, Cameron Smith has released a book and you have been mentioned in it regarding some of the tactics around wrestling. Will you comment on what has been said, or your involvement?"
Smith might well have played himself right out of favour in Melbourne, too.
"On many occasions throughout my career, the club told me they were under salary cap pressure, and asked me to make small personal sacrifices by deferring payments, which I agreed to," he wrote in his book.
Deferred payments are illegal in the NRL. They have been since the Storm was stripped in 2010.
NRL boss Andrew Abdo said on Friday the NRL believes Smith was talking about the period when the Storm was stripped of its premierships.
"The Storm, like every club, get audited and we have got a pretty slick team around it now," he said.
Still, with every word hard to trust, it appears the NRL has no choice but to have a deeper look.
Originally published as Kent: Cam Smith has lost sight of fact from fiction