Carey apologises to old AFL club - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Carey apologises to old AFL club

By Adam Cooper 13/08/2007 07:24:17 PM Comments (0)

Kangaroos legend Wayne Carey has moved to defuse another rift between himself and his old AFL club by apologising for criticism of depression sufferer Nathan Thompson.

On Sunday, Carey questioned why Thompson was at the Darwin Cup earlier this month and not at home concentrating on his recovery, in comments which sparked condemnation from support groups.

Carey was a panellist on Channel Nine's The Sunday Footy Show when he said: "It would be nice for Thommo to stay away from the Darwin Cup and concentrate on his recovery and maybe get back and get a kick.

"He's got depression but he's up there punting on horses. What's he thinking?"

Carey was also heard to mutter the words "neck himself" when the program returned from an advertisement break.

The former premiership captain had been responding to a comment from Thompson that Carey should stop criticising the Kangaroos and instead return to the club to help out behind the scenes.

This is the second major run-in Carey has had with the Kangaroos this year.

Earlier this year, he called for coach Dean Laidley to be replaced at the end of the season by Sydney assistant coach John Longmire, sparking a heated return from Laidley.

Carey's comments on the weekend drew condemnation from beyondblue (beyondblue) and the Sunrise Foundation, two groups which provide support for depression sufferers and work with AFL players.

Carey issued an apology through Channel Nine, which read: "I unreservedly apologise to Nathan Thompson for comments I made on The Sunday Footy Show.

"I was asked to respond to comments Nathan had made about me in that morning's newspaper, and in doing so I clearly overstepped the mark by referring to Nathan's issues with depression.

"I understand that my comments may have offended Nathan and hurt others who suffer from mental illness.

"I fully regret my comments, which were made in the spur of the moment and while they were insensitive, they were in no way malicious.

"I take the issue of depression seriously, and fully support the efforts of organisations like beyondblue, of which Nathan is an ambassador, in educating people about mental illness."

Carey later told Nine News: "As far as everything I said, it was absolutely stupid and I don't see any point in rehashing anything that I said.

"It was all silly and I shouldn't have said any of it."

Thompson, 29, went public with his battle against depression in 2004, while at Hawthorn.

He was traded to the Kangaroos the following season but has not played this season because of a knee injury.

The Kangaroos confirmed he had been cleared to visit Darwin.

Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett, also the Hawthorn president, said Thompson had helped "destigmatise" depression and that Carey was not thinking when he made his comments.

"He (Thompson) is remarkable, he knows he's got the illness, he deals with it," Kennett told Southern Cross radio.

"It's a recurring illness, he knows the signs, it doesn't stop him from performing at an elite level.

"Wayne spoke without thinking and I think he probably regrets it."

Carey's former teammate Wayne Schwass, chief executive of The Sunrise Foundation, said Carey's comments were ill-advised and increased the stigma about depression sufferers.

Kangaroos chief executive Ricky Aylett declined to comment on the controversy.

"It's an issue Wayne has to deal with," he said.

In March, Carey called for Laidley to be replaced eventually by Longmire, another former teammate.

Laidley responded by claiming Carey was self-absorbed and had "ripped the heart out of the footy club", a reference to Carey's affair with the wife of then-teammate Anthony Stevens.

That scandal became public in 2002 and forced Carey, then the Kangaroos' captain into exile.

Under Laidley, the Kangaroos have surpassed expectations this season and are fifth with three rounds to go.

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