Australian netball icon Liz Ellis has accused Cricket Tasmania of “victim-blaming” over the organisation’s response to an ex-staffer linked to the Tim Paine sexting saga.
After Paine stepped down from the Test captaincy on Friday, Cricket Tasmania released a statement that mentioned criminal charges against its former employee were “still pending”.
“The allegations raised against Tim Paine by a former Cricket Tasmania employee were only brought to the attention of Cricket Tasmania when formal charges of theft were laid against that employee in mid 2018,” Cricket Tasmania Chairman Andrew Gaggin said in the statement.
Ellis, a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, took issue with the statement.
“I think it’s worthwhile putting some context around [Paine’s relationship with the ex-staffer],” she told Nine’s Sports Sunday.
“There’s talk about it being consensual at the time, but there was later a workplace complaint made, so I think we need to keep that in mind as well.
“The person at the other end of the text messages did eventually make a complaint and I was disappointed to see Cricket Tasmania in the first line of their statement really try and discredit the woman involved.
“It was a terrible example of victim-blaming and they probably need to have a long, hard look at themselves.”
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Ellis also took aim at current Cricket Australia chair Richard Freudenstein, saying he had passed blame onto the board that came before his time with the organisation.
“I feel like Richard Freudenstien has just passed the buck as well,” she said.
“He’s saying, ‘My board wouldn’t have done this’, but he got briefed when he came on board as chair, [CEO] Nick Hockley got briefed about this, so they knew well before any of this was blown up publicly. Why didn’t he make the decision then?
“You can’t say, ‘Our board wouldn’t have done it’, if he didn’t make the decision when you knew about it, which was months ago.”
Ellis expressed sympathy for Paine’s wife Bonnie, who expressed her frustration at the scandal being made public in an interview alongside her husband in The Sunday Telegraph.
“The other woman who I feel really sorry for here is Bonnie Paine,” she said.
“It breaks my heart to think that she had been with Tim for 10 years, she’d been through those lows when he was first playing Test cricket and then he went through, by his own admission, some terrible lows before he got recalled.
“She went through that with him, and to think of her sitting at home with a newborn on what should’ve been her husband’s proudest day, back in the Australian team on the first day of the Test match at the Gabba in Brisbane and he wasn’t thinking of his job and he wasn’t thinking of her, he was sending these text messages.
“I am heartbroken for her. I’m really pleased to see that she put out her side of the story and I think both her and Tim doing it together was incredibly powerful. My heart really goes out to her and I think she’s shown some great fortitude through this.”