Sunday, 13 November 2011

Peter Roebuck: the eulogy nobody will have the courage to publish.



Peter Roebuck threw himself out of a sixth-floor hotel room window at around 9pm on Saturday night. His death at 55, while covering Australia’s cricket tour of South Africa, sparked a plethora of glowing tributes from cricket writers all over the world.


A decent opening bat and superb scribe, such eulogies failed to spark any feeling in this writer – and I suspect many cricket followers around the world felt the same. It turns out a uniformed policeman was questioning Roebuck at the time of his death in Cape Town.


We will never know for sure, but the word from a good source is this: the cop was questioning him about yet another sexual assault in a city where penniless young men are known to offer themselves to rich tourists to earn a few rand. He called a cricket-writing colleague to demand a lawyer then, with the policeman still in the room, he leapt to his death.


A great cricket writer yes. A great man? No. He spent his life calling a spade a spade on the cricket field but in the end, he dug his own grave.


Roebuck, one of many first class cricketers who forged a career after attending the fantastically privileged Millfield School in Somerset, was a bespectacled sort who first came to the world’s attention when he got rid of Ian Botham, Viv Richards and Joel Garner when he was captain of his county.


That was my first interview with the bloke, back in 1986. As I went in to the treatment room in Taunton to chat to him one-to-one for the Sunday Mirror, a young Somerset player at the time, who prefers now to remain nameless, jokingly warned me to “watch my bottom”.


The discussion went well. I came to no harm. I kept my back to the wall, I guess. I was young and naive. I didn't get a spanking but that comment stuck with me. Roebuck, everybody in the cricket world knew, was “dodgy” like so many other British public schoolboys who grew up in a boys-only school with jock-straps and lewd magazines for company.


Of course, he was right to banish Botham, Richards and Garner from the County Ground, he told me. They thought they were bigger than the club. The former England Public Schools captain neglected to mention the book he’d written with the great Beefy, how he’d clung on to Botham’s coat tails to get where he got.


While Botham was flamoboyant and popular, Roebuck was considered dull and unimaginative, though he did once captain England at a time when nobody else wanted to. Against the Netherlands. Unthinkably, they lost.


In all ways, removing the titanic trio from Taunton was simply a case of Roebuck asserting his personality on a thriving county cricket team that took years to recover from his machinations.


Roebuck retired from professional cricket in 1991 and went to captain Devon, a minor county in the English cricketing set-up. That he had tactical nous – and a penchant for writing about the game – was never in question.


But then the dark secret began to emerge. In 2001 he was convicted of “common assault” against three young South African cricketers who had come over to coach and learn the game (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1359991/Ex-Somerset-captain-caned-young-cricketers.html). Keith Whiting, Reginald Keats and Henk Lindeque, who were all 19 at the time, were procured while Roebuck was working overseas as a commentator. Roebuck persuaded them to live at his house while they were “under instruction”.


The first victim said at the time that Roebuck asked him to bend over and delivered three “forceful strokes” for failing to do his daily excercises properly.


The legal counsel at Taunton Crown Court said: “Roebuck then pulled the boy towards him, in what appeared to be an act of affection. He then asked if he could look at the marks on the boy’s buttocks, something which he in fact did.”


The second teenager was beaten by Roebuck when he failed to keep up on a run. He, too, was left feeling “considerable distress and humiliation”.


The third boy received similar treatment, being beaten by Roebuck and asked to show the marks.


The second boy, now living South Africa, said: “I did not consent to any assault but he is a dominant person who makes you feel that you must do as he says.”


Roebuck was originally accused of indecent assault for those acts, which occurred between April and the end of May in 1999. He eventually pleaded guilty to common assault. Tellingly, the judge said: “It was not appropriate to administer corporal punishment to boys of this age in circumstances such as these. It seems so unusual that it must have been done to satisfy some need in you.”


Roebuck said he warned the three South Africans he would use corporal punishment if they failed to obey his “house rules” adding he though they were “from a culture in which corporal punishment was accepted”.


Roebuck was sentenced to four months in jail for each count, with the sentences suspended for two years. Roebuck’s defence counsel insisted “more than 20 other promising young cricketers” had stayed at Roebuck’s house while receiving coaching and had never complained about any inappropriate behaviour.


Knowing his proclivities were now out of the closet, Roebuck began spending most of his time in Australia. There, his objective, hard-hitting writing went down well with the Sydney Morning Herald – and he was snapped up as a commentator for the ABC.


Soon, he was referring to Australia as “us” rather than England. He could offer withering critique of the fading Aussie cricket machine without fear of being contradicted.


And he could use his status as a public figure to continue his wicked ways. Strangely, where so many others would have been questioned over their criminal record, Fairfax newspapers and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation never bothered to check in to Roebuck’s past.


Look, Peter Roebuck was a fine cricket writer. But he used his status to procure vulnerable young men. That’s fact. The manner of his death and the reasons behind it will probably be hushed up. Cricket’s like that. Hansie Cronje and Bob Woolmer ditto. Some may feel we should consider Roebuck’s talents in his obituary. I think we should focus on the truth.


210 comments:

  1. Free Online Dictionary definition:

    eu·lo·gy (yl-j)
    n. pl. eu·lo·gies
    1. A laudatory speech or written tribute, especially one praising someone who has died.
    2. High praise or commendation.

    A eulogy this most certainly aint, Mr Collins. Rather a sound posthumous trashing?

    Best, Fred

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  2. I think you'll find Roebuck had been spending lots of time in Aus since the late 80's. He didn't run away to Aus to hide. He'd been writing for the SMH and commentating on ABC Cricket since the early 90's and so he continued to do so. His employers obviously gave him the benefit of the doubt.
    You do not have a lot of facts, just the usual dressing room immature slurs. I do not know the truth, but maybe at this time so close to his death it is "classier" to concentrate on the positives.

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  3. Thanks for that Fred/Howard.... and Anonymous, I don't really care about what you think is classy, it's the truth I'm after. That's my job. The lazy, ill-informed cricket writers fawn over Roebuck... ignoring the background.

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  4. Upon moving to Australia I can recall the looks of horror when discussing how growing up in South Africa administering of corporal punishment was common place. You have turned an act of discipline into salacious gossip. The SAP have not yet divulged the nature of their questioning of Peter Roebuck and at this stage only conjectur surrounding the circumstances in which Peter took his own life exist.

    Your kneejerk comments are sullying the name of a man that was renowned for funding of African youths educations, an accomplished cricketer and a prolific writer. Shame on you Neal Collins for not taking a leaf oh of Peter's play book.

    Jade

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  5. Couldn't agree more Neal. I'm a cricket writer who was never comfortable that his dangerous peccadilloes had been addressed.

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  6. How come you didn't have the cojones to write this when the man was alive ?

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  7. Vicious, nasty, vindictive, infantile piece of writing, awash with innuendo and homophobia, light on the facts. The man has just died and, whatever the reason, did so in tragic and tortured circumstances. He was clearly a complex man who has attracted many warm tributes but also evidently had his faults. In that sense he was like most human beings. Though it's hard to believe a sanctimonious bigoted bully like you has any redeeming features at all

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  8. "As I went in to the treatment room in Taunton to chat to him one-to-one for the Sunday Mirror, the Somerset wicket-keeper at the time, Neil Burns, jokingly warned me to “watch my bottom”.

    The discussion went well. I came to no harm. I kept my back to the wall, I guess."

    See, now that, along with the faux coy *nudge nudge wink wink* "google Martin Crowe," just sounds like a homophobic schoolboy sniggering and doesn't do your argument much good.

    There is a story about Peter Roebuck's life to be told but couching it in that sort of language isn't the way to engage with it.

    Is it that he was sexually exploiting the vulnerable that appals you? Because, sadly, I'm fairly certain there's a lot of that going about, primarily against woman by men in positions of privilege - no doubt including many cricketers. Or is it that you believe he was gay - and that's just so icky?

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  9. This is nothing short of a homophobic diatribe without a hint of grace or maturity.

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  10. Yeah.. couple of problems with this article.... Use of the emotive "boys" when in fact Roebuck sought out men of adult age. Also, Roebucks sexual proclivities while distasteful to some were consensual. Peter Roebuck wouldn't have been the first person shaken down by foreign sex worker.
    This article is nothing more than thinly described homophobia.

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  11. Neal, great piece. I am completely disgusted by the response of the Australian cricketing community to Roebucks death. Glorifying a man who used the game we love to prey on young men is a heinous act. Those of you who think people who point this out are classless because they are speaking ill of the dead need to have their morals examined.

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  12. Gutless. Shooting fish in a barrel. Conjecture and sniggering calumny.

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  13. Heres my problem, Peter cant reply to what you have said, it doesnt take courage to trash a dead man, you would of had courage if you had written a piece on him if he hadn't die. Instead you took the cheap and easy way.

    Probably sums you up as a writer.

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  14. I don't understand this at all. Is the author saying Martin Crowe is gay? I just googled him and he is married to a hot lady so I don't know what he is trying to say. Pathetic writing of a immature school boy.

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  15. Have to agree, the homophobia in this is blatant and says more about the writer than Peter Roebuck.

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  16. What sets you apart from good journalists is the ability not to descend into the trashy. For a better article on Roebuck check Gideon Haigh. Beware; it's homophobic-private-school-bully-boy free http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/sport/peter-roebuck-the-eccentric-outsider-who-blazed-his-own-trail/story-e6frg7t6-1226194006884

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  17. What is this shít, grow up ffs. You are a bad excuse for a journalist. You can write all the shít you want and it might get you a few clicks, but you will never come close to Roebuck.

    The man just died, tragically, let't wait for police reports before we make any conclusions.

    Who cares if he used his power or infleunce to attract young men? That is what we all do you fooking idiot, be it men or women.

    Cúnt.

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  18. And this blog is tacky as fúck, it looks like a 10 year old put it together. Classless and tasteless, just like you. Cúnt.

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  19. A shameful article, awash with smear and innuendo, and a striking lack of compassion. Roebuck was no saint, that much is clear. He committed a crime and was punished for it. But he was convicted of assault over ten years ago, yet you wait until he's dead before savaging his character. If you were so inflamed about it, why didn't you make an issue of it in print while he was alive?
    - Martin

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  20. A vile piece of 'journalism' :(

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  21. Homophobic trash.

    "But he used his status to procure vulnerable young men. That’s fact."

    No, it isn't.

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  22. Hi Neal,
    If you wanted to write an aritcle determined to highlight truth, you ought have indulged less in metaphor and half-speak.

    You criticise everyone else's lack of courage, yet dance around what you were trying to say. You end up sounding juvinile and homophobic.

    You're allowed to use the word gay.

    Sam Regester

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  23. All that history owes the dead is the truth. I guess that in time it will all come out as it should. Right now I know that PR was a fine writer. As for the rest I don't know.

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  24. It's amazing how many people overlook this man's odd behaviour and the evidence. However badly the article may or may not have been written, it focuses on facts and known behaviour. So why are you all defending this Roebuck chap? Are you up to the same tricks or what??

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  25. It's funny, you present this as some sort of groundbreaking expose that will shock the world, and then provide nothing of the sort.

    A rehash of his common assault charge, and a charming story of a homophobic exchange you and Burns shared, and...

    and absolutely nothing else.

    Pathetic.

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  26. I read this chap's book, got about 30 mins into it and chucked it out with the trash. More of the same I see.

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  27. Srry just want to add something.

    "the eulogy nobody will have the courage to publish"

    Oh yes sir, you have shown remarkable courage. Such a courageous piece of journalism.

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  28. "That's my job. The lazy, ill-informed cricket writers fawn over Roebuck... ignoring the background."

    Ignoring the background? What are you on about? So if I want to read a piece on cricket I first have to check if the author is perhaps homosexual? And in that case i should avoid it?

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  29. Dear Neal,

    Trashing a guy less than a day after he died, whatever your personal thoughts on him, is not a particularly classy act. Making allegations, however things might turn out, is also rather unpleasant - if you know of anything, as opposed to reheating internet gossip, you should report it to the authorities. And the homophobic quip about your meeting was unpleasant, as is the completely unproven allegation about his "procurement" of young boys. And are you suggesting that Bob Woolmer died of something other than a heart attack? I have no idea of Mr. Roebuck's character, and neither, I suspect, do you. Let us admire his work, at least for a day or so.

    Best,
    David

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  30. What's the basis of this piece? Some tawdry, homophobic gossip put about by tawdry, homophobic men. Natural justice and due process are critical to ensuring justice. Mr Roebuck is entitled to these, even dead.

    If Mr Roebuck is guilty of an illegal act, let that be found through thorough formal investigation rather than petty slander.

    Now spare a thought for any child or young person who is growing up gay and has the misfortune to have found this blog. All they will take from it is that homosexuality must be a source of shame and perversion. Shame on YOU, Mr Collins.

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  31. I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with what you've written, but I would like you to publish your proof for what you've written.

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  32. Thanks for the article - good to see someone tell the truth - should have been done while he was alive - and maybe save
    some who didn't know of his other side - but impressed by the legend.

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  33. Homophobic bullshit, what a disgraceful piece

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  34. I particularly enjoy the various descriptive words being bandered about here and elsewhere. Difficult, complex, enigmatic, unusual.
    I wonder if the victims of this complex, enigmatic unusual talent appreciate all the glowing tributes.
    He wrote about sport, sometimes well, often viciously. This isn't Oscar Wilde we are talking about. Though if it were, in this day and age he would have been languishing in prison as a pederast.
    And before the PC brigade nothing in this is about being gay. What occurs between two consenting adults is nothing to be ashamed about. There are no victims in that relationship. Sexual Crimes Squad Police are also not generally called to one of those relationships. It is this sort of lauding of marginal sports personalities that enables, protects and attracts certain sorts. On the infomation so far he certainly checks quite a few of those boxes. Penn State anyone?

    Adam

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  35. Wait for the outcome of police investigation anyone?

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  36. They don't generally proceed with cases where the Defendant is dead.....

    Adam

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  37. So we'll just hurl abuse in the court of public opinion?

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  38. No, that was his job.
    Kind of apt.

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  39. Obviously you don't understand the difference between writing critically about a sport to writing about a dead man with 'alleged' accusations that confuse the worlds of homosexuality and paedophilia.

    Everyone rushes to conclusions and we are all the worst for it. I thank god that people like you didn't establish courts of law.

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  40. Trevor I an using your words because they are clear "It's funny, you present this as some sort of groundbreaking expose that will shock the world, and then provide nothing of the sort.

    A rehash of his common assault charge, and a charming story of a homophobic exchange you and Burns shared, and...

    and absolutely nothing else.

    Pathetic"

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  41. Great article, presumably while alive roebuck had a decent lawyer that kept his dirty habits with young men (and probably minors) out the media. Looks like the skeletons were about to come out the closet because some rent boy stitched him up and made a complaint. Live by the sword, die by the sword. How ABC and Fairfax employed him is totally beyond me. Also, its beyond me how someone with a conviction for common assault and a suspended sentence passed australian citizenship tests. Truly jaw-dropping. Someone in Immigration Australia needs sacking.

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  42. Bottoms and bumholes among young men and boys will be less sore following peter's demise. RIP peter.

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  43. Also, I'll be buggered if I can understand how someone with a conviction for what is quite frankly predatory sexual behavior that but for a few hundred days would have been called "grooming" can be allowed involvement in mentoring and fostering young orphans ans other boys.

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  44. So what do I KNOW from this trashy piece of infantile writing? 1, it is NOT journalism which relies on fact and sources rather than heresay and innuendo; 2 There are very few facts but a lot of rumour; 3 it is homophobic; 4 Peter Roebuck was gay (big deal !!!!); 5 PR was once convicted of assault and probably showed gross error of judgement ... 10 years ago; 6 it is sansationalism in its most gross form; 7 I would like to see Martin Crowe (the cricketer) sue for defamation; 8 this a a cheap way to trash somebody who is was an infinitely better journalist (not JUST a writer who has sunk to the level of using sensationalism to attract readers).

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  45. There's one more important fact that you have forgotten.
    He jumped of a 6 story balcony rather than face lawful justice for his actions. (in a country where gay marriage is legal).
    This isn't about him being gay or into s&m. Lots of people are. They don't all jump of balconies though.

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  46. But he had the joy of being surrounded by people like Neal Collins. I'm sure this intolerance of homosexuality is endemic in the sport.

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  47. Great indictment of the journalism profession... how to parlay a conversation 25 years ago with a dead man and some public domain information freely available on the internet into a sensationalist non-expose hyping it as a "courageous" stand. utterly pathetic.

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  48. Great comments... small point: I didn't refer to Roebuck's sexuality at any point, just his penchant for hitting vulnerable young men in his care with a stick. Joburg Star, page 26 today suggests black armbands for Peter Roebuck on Thursday at Wanderers. After conviction for assaulting three SA teens? Bizarre. And I warned the writer about Roebuck's past hours before they went to press.

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  49. It should be remembered that the majority of paedophiles avoid conviction for their crimes - often because they commit suicide when they know the game is up.

    Roebuck was a homosexual man with an eye for teenage boys - that much has been confirmed and he was a convicted criminal who was lucky to avoid goal time for indecently assaulting those three boys. As the judge in the case said, he wasn't merely belting them for the sake of "discipline".

    The fact that he was being questioned in his hotel room by officers attached to the local sex crimes unit before he took his deadly plunge speaks volumes. The coward knew the game was up and decided to end it before the truth about his other activities South Africa came out.

    A very illuminating piece, Neal.

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  50. Don't be disingenuous. Your whole article is full of allusions about his sexuality - not least the interview incident which can be summarised as "player makes homophobic joke in my presence" and your gratuitous reference to Crowe for which I hope he takes action. Once again, if you have new information on abuse then have the balls to publish it. Roebuck was tried and sentenced for the caning in a court of law and that information was never a secret. You're hinting at much more but offer neither evidence nor specifics - just vague and snide insinuations. Nice opportunity to get publicity on the back of someone's demise though !

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  51. Nice that you gave Roebuck the chance to retort.... oh wait.

    You talk about having the 'courage' to publish this, funny you didn't have the 'courage' to publish this a week ago.

    You are a weak, cowardly, disgusting human being.

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  52. Neal i couldnt agree more with you. He was convicted. These are not allegations these are facts...nevermind wearing black arm bands, kids start wearing tighter waistbands

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  53. So he looked twice at you in 1986 when you were a young journo and he was about 30. You snigger with your mate about bottoms and keeping your back to the wall. Sounds like homophobia to me.

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  54. Great Comments. A really sad story.

    Very poor, Neil.

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  55. There are many famous people who have had deeply flawed personal lives and criminal convictions. Fortunately when someone dies, most people find a way to strike a balance between recognising their professional achievements and their personal inadequacies. Most people with some class that is. The best Roebuck obituaries have done precisely that - as opposed to your visceral attack with little substantiation.
    Examples ? Oscar Wilde, John Gielgud, George Best, Arthur Koestler ... the list is long. Read Gielgud's wikipedia entry to see how people found a way to reconcile this.

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  56. Neal, the article would be stronger without the throwaway line about the gay joke and the innuendo about Crowe. It gives readers a reason to dismiss your entire article as homophobic, and with some justification. The facts are strong enough to support your case with the cheap sniping.

    The facts are Roebuck exploited at least three young people in his care and with whom he had a mentoring relationship for self-gratification in the guise of assisting them. They trusted him, he abused that trust. Gay, straight, whatever - that is clearly wrong.

    Given Roebuck's history of exploitative behaviour with young people in his charge, is it really homophobic to be concerned that Roebuck was actively seeking contact with young cricketers from poor backgrounds - having them stay at his house, paying for their education? As someone said above, that is classic grooming behaviour. Is it homophobic to state that obviously Roebuck's victims in the caning case didn't consent to his actions - else they would not have testified in court?

    Roebuck may not be a pedophile - there is no evidence that he has had any improper dealings with anyone under the age of consent. But there is certainly enough evidence to warrant further questions being asked about Roebuck, his life and his death. Again, it is not homophobic to be critical of people who have demonstrated exploitative sexual behaviour and to be suspicious of the motives of those people from them on. It is not about being gay, it is about using your position to expoit vulnerable people. It is wrong when rugby league players like Matthew Johns do it to young women, it is wrong when cricketers like Peter Roebuck do it to young men.

    Roebuck was a fine writer and decent cricketer but a deeply flawed man. His actions should not be allowed to disappear into the ether under the guise of "respect for the dead" or "homophobia". Either way a black armband tribute would be out of line and I will be disappointed if it happens

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  57. People questioning my Peter Roebuck piece http://neal-collins.blogspot.com/2011/11/peter-roebuck-eulogy-nobody-will-have.html should see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1359991/Ex-Somerset-captain-caned-young-cricketers.html from the Daily Telegraph, 2001.
    I will be having my say on Chris Gibbons' Midday Report on South Africa's 702 and Cape Talk radios at 12.09 SA time today, that's 10.09 in the UK. You can listen live online at www.702.co.za. Gibbons is a challenging interviewer. I hope to have the chance to defend this piece on air, live, to critics above. Anybody wearing a black armband yet?

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  58. The poor guy was a tormented soul and it was NOT his school that made him (or anyone else) that way. That jibe at an entire school system that has produced millions of decent and amazing people shows total ignorance on your part, as well as probable jealousy. Whether or not you are gay yourself or just hate/are terrified of gay people, only you know.

    If cricket fans are not allowed (by your decree) to mourn Roebuck the man, at least let them mourn Roebuck the great cricket writer. And if that sorrow is manifest in black armbands, just avert your eyes if it offends you.

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  59. The black armband is a red herring (sic). Most people don't wear armbands for anyone and I doubt if a cricket journalist is hat important a consideration in anyone's life. It's a total non issue.
    What you don't seem to be able to understand is that the caning issue has always been known. He committed a crime, he was punished 10 years ago. Fact. I have read him for years and ave always been aware of this.
    What you don't know as a fact is whether he learnt from it or took actions to address the flaws in his personality. You offer no evidence of where he "procured" or "exploited" young people since then. If you have any facts about these issues I cannot find them in anything you have written.
    Sadly this comes across as a bit part journalist getting publicity on the back of a death armed only with google searches and low journlalistic standards. Good luck having this piece ever published in a respectable outlet.

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  60. Neal, get real. "Great comments... small point: I didn't refer to Roebuck's sexuality at any point, just his penchant for hitting vulnerable young men in his care with a stick." Uhh .... watch your bottom and keep your back to the wall??

    Good luck with your radio show and your 15 minutes of fame.

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  61. Pity I can't respond to the anonymous links. I've tried to get back to everyone else. I've removed Crowe reference and added link to Telegraph coverage of the original court case. At no point do I say Roebuck is gay or a paedophile, just a dodgy public schoolboy with a penchant for hitting vulnerable young teenagers with sticks while they were in his care. That's enough for me. Oh, and five newspapers have republished this so far. One actually requested permission. The Sydney Morning Herald.

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  62. Rather than join the chorus above, I'll just pick you up on a point of fact. Somerset in the mid-80s were anything but a 'thriving' team.
    They finished last in the county championship in 1985 (winning 1 game from 24) and second last in 1986 (Botham et al's last season). They finished 11th in 1987.

    To imply, as you do above, that he dismantled a successful team in order to recruit his gay friend is factually inaccurate.

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  63. Thanks Matt, point is Botham, Richards, Garner pulled huge crowds to Taunton and they were a successful one-day outfit. Their departure was hugely controversial, I wrote the stories at the time. Roebuck had "Judas" sign put on his hook. Interviewed Joel Garner afterwards. He was very upset at his treatment. Crowe reference is now removed. Cheap. And I make no reference to anybody being gay or a paedophile. Just that Roebuck had a penchant for thrashing. End of.

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  64. Neal is homophobic?! Hahaha...you couldn't meet a more 'right on' liberal outside St Pauls right now!

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  65. Hi Neal,
    I often hear Kevin Mccallum complain that he hast been awarded the SAB sports journalist of the year award. Do you think that a "journalist" that is so close to the people that he should be reporting on can be called a a legitimate journalist? He seems more interested in being friends with the cricket players and being invited to their weddings than on reporting the truth. I am still waiting for an article on the cricket world cup from him describing our performance in a negative light.
    He reminds me of an embedded journalist but the only difference is he is not covering a war but sport.

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  66. A horrible interview on 702, where Neal goes to new lows. You should be ashamed. I hope people expose you for the fraud and attention seeker that you are.

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  67. i think it's fair enough to question him. i was never a fan of his writing - and let me tell you he only referred to australia as "us" when he back tracked on one of his many ill-informed pieces. his writing during the sydney test against india was some of the worst, one sided journalism ever, trying to stick the boot into the aussies when he should've been addressing the indians who had brought the game into disrepute. this poor writing is why no one in australia would've ever accepted him as one of us. he was obviously guilty as sin whatever he did. hopefully its not just because he feared of being outed as a homosexual, because that is absolutley no reason to take your life and that would be terrible if that was the case. but i doubt that will be the only reason here. i suspect there will be a few interesting tid-bits found on his computer. whether this ever becomes public i doubt - but people have been too quick to bask in his honor when there's a big smelly rat that should've been investigated first. therefore no one should be wearing black arm bands in the second test. he misreported crickets controversies time and time again to build a following from everyone non australian - let's not follow his lead and misreport this controversy.

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  68. Kevin's a great writer. But he won't touch Biff, and given Newlands last week, he's right. At least at Test level. We were close once, he drifted off when I came back to live here. Called and asked if I'd upset him some how... no reply. That was three months ago. He fills Star with cycling pages about his free bikes and lycra while their coverage of local football is limited. Then he "blocked" me on twitter for warning him not to eulogise about Peter Roebuck. Thought the interview with Chris Gibbons went okay... a listener even emailed in to applaud my honest stance. Was it anonymous above? I think not! Anybody buying black armbands yet?

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  69. Daily Mail update: Henk Lindeque, one of Mr Roebuck’s victims mentioned above, said yesterday he was ‘shocked’ to learn of the cricket writer’s sudden death.
    ‘I haven’t had any contact with him since the trial. The problem was not so much that he caned us but wanted to examine the marks. That’s when I decided to get out of his house.’


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2060943/Peter-Roebuck-dead-Former-cricketer-55-jumped-death-hotel-room.html#ixzz1dfwwhkVD

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  70. I agree with Joel:

    Joel said...

    Nice that you gave Roebuck the chance to retort.... oh wait.

    You talk about having the 'courage' to publish this, funny you didn't have the 'courage' to publish this a week ago.

    You are a weak, cowardly, disgusting human being.

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  71. If Joel, Gideon (I think I know who you are) and the last anonymous could email me on www.nealcollins@hotmail.com, I'd be happy to discuss further. Adelaide and Sydney newspapers reprinting this as I speak. Cowardly? And you call yourself anonymous?

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  72. Kevin McCallum is only awarded SAB journalist of the year because he consumes so much of the sponsor's product.

    Good on you Neal for exposing this, I enjoyed the read as well as the sad comments people are putting up to defend someone whom they admired for his professional excellence. One wonders what these persons would say if PR was a little less like them or just an ex cricketer with the aforementioned penchant.

    I will agree that the timing of this piece is questionable but I also think that wearing armbands for PR will sully and belittle the initiative by the McGrath foundation to hold a pink test in honour of Glenn McGrath late wife and other cancer sufferers. It is maybe the the cancer of inappropriate sexual behaviour by the like of PR that we should be wearing armbands for.

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  73. On what grounds can you say "he was dodgy like so many British public schoolboys"? What a disgustingly sloppy cliche. You have your right to talk about Roebuck as you see fit. what is not in doubt is that you are a terrible writer, not half as good as your subject.

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  74. I think we've outed the British public schoolboys! But I agree. Roebuck was a great writer.

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  75. Neal, ive just posted on twitter to you too but thought id reply here. I wouldnt claim you are a terrible writer like the previous, and I dont actually know a great deal about Roebucks writing. But why should admitted you went to a public school be an 'outing'. I have no shame in declaring what school I went to, although it was no way as privileged as Millfield or Eton. I think the link from private education to homosexuality or promiscuity is as unfair as any sexist, class-ist or racial slur or stereotype. You seem to have a real gripe with it.

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  76. Craig, I do have a gripe. But there is no link to anything other than posh boys-only schools producing social misfits with women problems, weak chins and posh accents. Step forward Peter Roebuck. Brilliant but flawed.

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  77. 10,000 reads is what it's all about for you. That's one office block in Mumbai in one morning. Big fucking deal. Using this to lift your profile because you can't get a job as a writer. No-one will employ you after this. Have you heard of the journalists code? Keith Miller used it to perfection. Gets desperate when you've been deleted from Wikipedia. Is this how you deal with your depression?

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  78. Erm... yes Malcolm. But 10,000 has cheered me up. Are you Australian and a cricket writer? Can't respond properly to your message. What is it you dispute in the story? Were you one of those who sat in the press box pretending not to know?

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  79. "Keith Whiting, Reginald Keats and Henk Lindeque, who were all 19 at the time, were procured while Roebuck was working overseas as a commentator. Roebuck persuaded them to live at his house while they were “under instruction”."

    procure ?

    pro·cure (pr-kyr, pr-)
    v. pro·cured, pro·cur·ing, pro·cures
    v.tr.
    1. To get by special effort; obtain or acquire: managed to procure a pass.
    2. To bring about; effect: procure a solution to a knotty problem.
    3. To obtain (a sexual partner) for another.
    v.intr.
    To obtain sexual partners for others.

    I guess you're nudging us towards the 3rd definition right ?

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  80. Yes, procure. Read http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1359991/Ex-Somerset-captain-caned-young-cricketers.html

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  81. He got them by special effort... using his drawing power as a famous cricketing commentator.

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  82. I find it extremely distasteful that you focus on one bad element of a recently departed man's personality.

    I follow Somerset and can assure you that the team was not thriving at the time Sir Viv & Big Bird were not given new contracts. Please check the county championship tables for the prior 2 seasons and let me know whether you still maintain the word "thriving" should be used.

    I assume you know Neil Burns well, referring to him as "Burnsie" in the article. How does he feel about you referencing his homophobic dressing-room "banter", now he works to open doors for players (are we to assume the door remains shut for gay players?)? Your reference of him doesn't sit well with his company's tagline: "developing people with grace"

    I always thought Roebuck odd, and the case of the South Africans was extremely concerning. However, that was a long time ago, and justice was served. I'm far from convinced that incident should be what we remenber him for, given the array of highlights in his life.

    Everyone has their flaws but very few suffer such a vitriolic character assassination so soon after their death.

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  83. So Alan, as a Somerset fan, do you think Peter Roebuck was right to oust Viv and Joel and ultimately Beefy? Not everyone would agree. What Neil Burns said was not homophobic, it was a standing joke about Peter Roebuck's caning repuation... which turned out to be accurate...

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  84. Hmm. Where to start?

    "We will never know for sure, but the word from a good source is this: the cop was questioning him about yet another sexual assault in a city where penniless young men are known to offer themselves to rich tourists to earn a few rand."

    Actually, we probably will know for sure, as the police investigation is still ongoing, but, hey, why wait for that when you can immediately leap in with totally unfounded speculation of your own?

    "As I went in to the treatment room in Taunton to chat to him one-to-one for the Sunday Mirror, the Somerset wicket-keeper at the time, Neil Burns, jokingly warned me to “watch my bottom”.

    The discussion went well. I came to no harm."

    So, you admit that Burns's comment was made "jokingly" (i.e. he didn't mean it literally) and that nothing untoward happened to you whatsoever while interviewing Roebuck, and yet you somehow still manage to use this incident as "evidence" of Roebuck's evil predilections. Nothing happened, so that proves he was a pervert, eh?

    "Roebuck, one of many first class cricketers who forged a career after attending the fantastically privileged Millfield School in Somerset"

    Which he went to on a scholarship, which he won for his academic and sporting prowess, so it's not like Mummy and daddy bought this "privilege" for him and he did nothing to deserve it. Look, I don't agree with private education, either, but (a) Roebuck wasn't a rich posh boy (b) the majority of public schoolboys do not emerge from their education as sadomasochists or kiddie fiddlers and it's immature hyperbole to suggest they do.

    As far as I can see, nobody is hushing anything up or whitewashing Roebuck's past. Virtually every article I've read on Roebuck's death has mentioned the assault conviction, the fact that he was under investigation for sexual assault at the time he committed suicide, the fact that personal items were removed from his hotel room by police for investigation and the controversy over his support of (someone else's idea) to not renew Richards's and Garner's contracts.

    What other writers haven't done is laced the truth with personal malice, unsubstantiated hearsay, wild speculation and their own pet prejudices. That you have, in my book, doesn't make you "brave" or the "only person prepared to speak out about the truth"

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  85. Neal, do you not agree that Roebuck would have been a strange individual had it been Millfield or a local comprehensive. He was a troubled man regardless of education. I just find it quite a brush to tar every 'posh' school with that they produce socially inept perverts or mysoginists. Maybe times have changed but I certainly know no one of that ilk from my experiences there. It is worth saying that Millfield is not single sex either although it may well have been in Roebucks time.

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  86. Mate you are a pathetic nobody -the Paris Hilton of the print world, prepared to do anything to validate your miserable existence. It won't make you happy pal...

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  87. Neal. There's no substance. You appear to exist in an 80's tabloid world. If you can't produce names of under-age males he has preyed on you've got nothing. Do you actually think anyone in the Press Box discussed these things with him? I would have liked to see you try. You should visit Salem. They've moved on there. It's time you did to. Peter's passing will not resurrect you.

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  88. Yes, I do believe the county were right to move on. They gave great service to Somerset, but reputations were greater than deeds at that time. Also, you suggest that Roebuck, as captain, controlled the contracts of players - that isn't correct.

    Defending Burns' comment as "not homophobic" is embarrassing. Such views were the norm then, but it looks extremely out-dated and ignorant 20 years later - I can't imagine he's thrilled to be "outed" by you.

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  89. Burns' comment was of course homophobic. It would be no different to the jibes black football players endured years ago. "watch your pockets, ...... is here" and the like. They are of course homophobic or racist.

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  90. In the light of the fact that there is suspicion around the death of Peter Roebuck (i.e. not natural causes or a total accident), and because there is an ongoing police investigation into possible sexual assault, meaning there is a victim out there somewhere - would it not be totally inappropriate to acknowledge Roebuck in any shape or form in the forthcoming Test?

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  91. Thanks Melanie, great comment. But I think you'll find most of the eulogies I read failed to mention Peter's past. What I find upsetting about the homophobic jibes is that I never suggested Roebuck was gay, just that he liked to hit young boys, that's what he was convicted for. Malcolm what should we do? Just let everyone wax lyrical about a man who has thrown himself out of the window after being questioned about a sexual assault? This morning the Daily Mail, using a regular reporter in Cape Town, did the same thing. As did the Mirror and several others. The suggestion that Neil Burns is homophobic is ridiculous. Did Peter Roebuck EVER say he was homosexual? Do you know more than I do about that? As for the final comment: Spot on. To wear black armbands at the Wanderers on Thursday, as suggested in today's Johannesburg Star, would be ridiculous. They didn't do it for the great South African reporter Rodney Hartman, who I worked with on the Rand Daily Mail thirty years ago. Why do it for an Englishman who threw himself out of a window?

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  92. Neal, do you usually refer to 19 year olds as "young boys" or is that just when you're trying to whip up a storm?

    Neil Burns made a homophobic comment, you reported it in your "article".

    Black armbands for the players would be inappropriate. However, prejudicing the investigation shouldn't be the reason. Roebuck was a journalist and (as I understand) not close to either set of players. The press box wearing black armbands would be more appropriate, as a sign of respect for a former colleague. It would be disrespectful to not wear them.

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  93. This an appalling, twisted,brutal piece. Peter Roebuck, whatever his tensions, tortures and misjudgments, sought to GIVE, educate, help and do good and there is endless testimony inside and outside journalism that he did so. This seeks to destroy his reputation with innuendo and implied homophobia. I have just read on another site that his alleged sexual assault - whatever that amounted to - with a 26 y o guy makes him "a peado".

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  94. Neal Collins = C*nt of the highest order, figaro chain wearing, soccer hooligan, rumnose, looking for a cheapshot, writes like a child, not fit to hold PR's hat.

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  95. Amazed how so many anonymous people are prepared to defend a man convicted of assaulting vulnerable young teenagers in his care, amazed they can read the words homosexual and paedophile in to a story which never mentions either word. So sad. This is just how it is. A piece that had to be written. Rest in peace Peter Roebuck. Not gay as far as I know. He just had a penchant for caning people. Great writer, messed up bloke. He didn't throw himself out of the window for nothing.

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  96. It's pretty clear where your views are, you lead people further down alleys with your comments. Why refer to "young boys" when they were 19?

    You must have a massive agenda to be so full of hate when someone has so recently died. Is it your agenda or someone else's? And you remove the part of the story about someone still alive (Crowe) - presumably to avoid being sued.

    I hope you find peace and happiness in your life, because you're clearing lacking something at the moment.

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  97. Peter Roebuck latest, from his own newspaper. Sorry, the truth hurts. http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/roebuck-in-a-state-of-despair-he-just-had-a-brain-snap--that-is-all-i-can-assume-20111114-1nfmw.html

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  98. Alan, I lack nothing in my life. Honest. Have a look at yourself. When you're 19 and being caned by a 40-year-old cricket expert you look up to, depend on, you're a young man. Read the Telegraph report on the court case. Look how the bloke died. Yet you condone such behaviour. You're a very sad man. Like a lot of others on here. Just accept the truth. Great writer, not such a great bloke.

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  99. If you're going to try to debate, don't misquote and misrepresent: I have never condoned his behaviour in that case.

    I just don't believe that incident should be the primary focus of articles about Roebuck. And when that's done immediately following his death it is extremely disrespectful. Especially when laced with innuendo.

    I'll ask again - why did you refer to 19 year olds as "young boys" (13:28) if you're not looking to manipulate people's views?

    Either you've got an agenda, or you're a despicable human being.

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  100. Society can live with men who like to cane 19 year old men. Who cares, we all would like to give or receive a good spanking every now and then.

    However, its people like you with no ingegrity and compassion that makes the world a sad place to live in sometimes.

    Would rather it had been you jumping from the window. PR will be sorely missed, you won't.

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  101. The scary thing here isn't Neal's alleged homophobia, it is the determination to make light of Roebuck's predatory sexual history and to howl down reporting of Roebuck's continued questionable behaviour since.

    Apparently, it's A-OK to exploit young, vulnerable people in your charge, so long as they are over the age of consent. When that same person continues to seek out access to young people using what would be seen by an impartial observer as grooming and then later kills himself when being questioned about a sexual assault, the response from the cricket media apparently should be "move along, nothing to see here"?

    Neal may or may not have an agenda but the topic he raises and the questions it poses are legitimate and should be reported. I guess we can rely on the cricket media to ignore it. Sadly, cricket has the media it deserves ...

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  102. Why do I suspect that Mr. Roebuck learned to sexually love the cane at his privileged school in Somerset. So many boys have been so conditioned by Headmasters and Deputy Headmasters who did no more the Mr. Roebuck did but got away with it because of the time. You reap what you sow and I suspect that Peter Roebuck was as much a victim as the lads he caned.

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  103. He jumped because the game was up. You do not jump to your death if you are not guilty of what the police alleges. He could see what was coming up for him: the arrest, the public humiliation, the conviction, the jail sentence as second-time offender, the loss of his writing gigs, being discredited among his long-time friends and the rest of it. He made a decision and took the least painful option for him. The leap from his window was a leap towards his mental freedom. He could not bare the suffering that was coming up for him.

    Of course nothing has been proved yet and it will perhaps never will be because the guy is dead and the police will close the case. But we owe him the truth: good cricketer, great writer and sexual deviant. That was Peter Roebuck.

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  104. "Of course nothing has been proved..." and yet, bigots such as yourself and Collins will happily surrender your premature and graceless opinions in the public sphere.

    A pox on all your houses.

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  105. "Yet another sexual assault?" where did you get this from? R

    Previously Peter Roebuck was charged with assault and nothing sexual was reported or charged. This was for corporal punishment and not for child or sexual abuse. Why don’t you take the time to speak to people who know him or understood the man. His knowledge and understanding of cricket was second to none, his writing was original and brave and based on facts and truth, not on rumour and innuendo.

    If only all reporters were as observant and diligent.

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  106. Where were all his so called friends and colleagues during his court case in 2001 ? Not one person would come forward as a character reference and he asked many. Why was no one prepared to defend him then ?

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  107. Another idiotic and wrong assumption. I know of at least one person who was his reference: http://smh.com.au/sport/cricket/roebuck-in-a-state-of-despair-he-just-had-a-brain-snap--that-is-all-i-can-assume-20111114-1nfmw.html

    Go and research something, you moron.

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  108. I know one of those lads he spanked. I doubt if he thinks it's idiotic.

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  109. Homophobic bile.

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  110. That's the most disgusting thing I've ever read. Professional jealously, homophobic garbage only drudged up to get hits on your blog. Maybe you should read this Neal you 'human' piece of filth'

    http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/peter-roebuck--a-tribute-from-his-first-african-son-20111114-1nfoa.html

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  111. Why has the author removed the innuendo about Martin Crowe being a pedophile? It is still in the google cache version and I have tweeted it to Martin Crowe - I hope he takes action and ruins this sub-human's pathetic 'career'.

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  112. "That was my first interview with the bloke, back in 1986. As I went in to the treatment room in Taunton to chat to him one-to-one for the Sunday Mirror, the Somerset wicket-keeper at the time, Neil Burns, jokingly warned me to “watch my bottom”.

    "The discussion went well. I came to no harm. I kept my back to the wall, I guess. I was young and naive."

    So in 1986 you were what, 25? And Roebuck was 30 and 'dodgy'.

    Sadly, this article says much more about its author than it does about the dead man.

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  113. I hope the writer is snow white clean. Although I think you just gave yourself up.
    To trawl through this even before his funeral is worse than tasteless.
    I can only think the writer is trying to garner some publicity on the coattails of this shocking incident.
    Regardless of his traits, he financially supported many underprivileged people, and entertained millions more.
    This isnt the "truth" or "journalism", its just grubby.
    Shame on you Neal Collins

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  114. Cowardice, pure and simple.

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  115. Roebuck was a butt pirate! End of story! As a commentator he was grossly overrated! A flip flopper of the highest order. A day after backing one side of a discussion, he'd then go in and bat for the other side (no pun intended)!

    He should of been sacked after saying Ponting should resign after Symonds was racially vilified by Harby Singh!

    The Spruce Caboose!

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  116. This is a superb piece; courageous, enlightening, upholding the truth.

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  117. ***In all ways, removing the titanic trio from Taunton was simply a case of Roebuck asserting his personality on a thriving county cricket team that took years to recover from his machinations.***

    No it was not. Somerset had just had two dismal seasons. Membership was declining. The Board had a chance to sign young Martin Crowe who had starred with bat and ball in 1984 for the 1987 season. Richards & Garner were nearing retirement anyway, and would be unavailable in 1988. Crowe was only 23 so could be with the club for years to come.

    Boofhead Botham saw it as a betrayal, when actually it was a no-brainer.

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  118. Presumably the cheap throw away line about Martin Crowe was because he must have gone to a good school. Grubby work to put the comment out there, then remove it as if it wasn't said. It appears you have to carry that chip on your shoulder about not going to a public school for life. I went to a decent boys only school, and most of us now live our lives with a wife & family. I don't know who the "many" are doing dodgy stuff with boys bottoms, but maybe the British system's different. I think you belong in politics. You can say what you like about anyone, don't need to let the truth get in the way, don't need to show any sensitivity, and there's even a few gays you can have a go at. Why don't you think about it, I'm sure you can jag a headline or two.

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  119. I think this piece is very premature. The man has just died and so would be wise to wait for more to come out on the story from the SA police. Whatever you think of the man, there is no denying he was a brilliant journalist, part-time author, and analyser on radio, even if a polarising one at that.

    When England played Down Under last time, I use to stay up listening to commentary on the radio and alwawys a hated it when his half hour stint would be up as the commentators would rotate several times during the course of the day. His views and thoughts on the game were a joy to listen to and read about. Honestly, after listening to him analyse the game, he made Sky's cricket commentators sound rather amateurish by comparison.

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  120. Neal

    are you serious? watch your bottom? back against the walls? If there's anyone 'dodgy', it is you.

    your puerile homophobia stands out more than any question about Roebucks' character.

    Roebuck was probably a product of his milieu - beaten, strapped, separated from family in a boarding institution with hazing being a poor substitute for intimacy. Is it any wonder a high proportion of those beaten as children eroticise the act later in life as a way to deal with the trauma.

    While it's no excuse for his behaviour, your ungracious posthumous tainting of his reputation is no less misguided and probably more intentionally unkind.

    Grow up.

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  121. Where were Somerset in 1986? at the bottom of the championship IIRC. They hadn't won a trophy since 1983.

    RE: Millfield. Have you had your "back against the wall" when interviewing:

    David Graveney
    Ben Hollioake
    James Hildreth
    Simon Jones
    Craig Kieswetter
    Ian Ward
    Rory Hamilton-Brown
    Tom Maynard

    ?

    Is Nasser Hussain (an Old Ferrester) also to be tarred with the same brush in your eyes?

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  122. You disappoint me, Neal. I thought I was going to read some juicy new facts but none of this is new. And your homophobia is showing.

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  123. Neal, like the way you're evaluating and responding to criticism.

    But surely now that at least five papers have published your piece it's time to change the headline from ..."the eulogy nobody will have the courage to publish"?

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  124. Which five papers published it?

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  125. Neal just mentioned that five, not which five, had published it; at least two in Aus.

    By the way, here's a bit more that I don't think has been linked to yet. A bit of insight into Roebuck's Pietermaritzburg students/mentees:

    http://www.vexnews.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/peterroebuckdaddy.jpg

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  126. (Oh, mentioned the SMH specifically.)

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  127. The SMH did not print Neal's piece and I can't find any other Australian paper that did.

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  128. That vexnews piece is touching. Those young students will be most likely devastated at Roebuck's death.

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  129. Just seen this, even more moving. An article written for today's SMH by Roebuck's first Zimbabwean protégé. It's a must-read:

    http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/peter-roebuck--a-tribute-from-his-first-african-son-20111114-1nfoa.html

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  130. This is what you call attention-seeking, desperate trash.

    I'd fire any editor who published this kind of drivel.

    Feel sorry for this Neal Collins chap...such a loser.

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  131. Is spanking 19 year olds acceptable ? Yes or no ?

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  132. Neal, I've found your article only seems to be getting linked (not reprinted) by News Ltd media in our Aussie press, which is hardly anything to be proud of. Typically Andrew Bolt jumped straight on it.

    Also, could you please explain to me what exactly a "dodgy public schoolboy" is?
    And what were those "wicked ways" he used his public figure continue?

    Just need some clarification and I am sure a few others here would appreciate it too.

    Cheers,

    Tom
    Rutherglen, Australia.

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  133. 'The truth is rarely pure and never simple.' - Oscar Wilde

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  134. Well said Neal, good article.

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  135. Who gives a fuck if some sicko faggot child rapist died? I certainly do not give two shits if this piece of shit took the coward's way out and turned himself into pavement quiche.

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  136. I love how the fag lovers always cry homophobia whenever one of these fucking sick perverts gets caught being a sicko.

    What the left wing cocksucking greenie fucks need to understand is that penises go inside vaginas not poo holes and that if you believe otherwise you were raised incorrectly.

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  137. I can't believe that you have the balls to be proud of the above last few comments Neal.

    The article proves that you don't have the talent to write the way Roebuck did and clearly you did not have the balls to question him when he was alive. You like the rest chose rather to snigger and pass ugly remarks about him in the press box. Yet now that he is dead you on your high horse.

    Roebuck was bold in his writing, called a spade a spade and justified his every point when it came to cricket.

    I hope that someone does wear a black arm band on Thursday to spite you (perhaps I will) simply because you will never be able to deny that Peter Roebuck was a great servant to journalism and world cricket. Can't say the same about you and any sport now can we?

    By the way attacking your colleagues does not help your cause in any way.

    Hope you not looking for a job because an article like that would put you on the bottom of the list.

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  138. Neal

    Great article, you've got a new follower.

    As for Peter Roebuck what he was doing "wasn't cricket" really

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  139. Collins, you are a pathetic excuse for a journalist. You have revealed nothing here that did not appear in any of the newspaper reports. Roebuck may have been a tortured individual with some unsavoury skeletons and was very probably not a very nice human being. But at least in his chosen profession, he was dazzling, an original thinker and great writer. You, in contrast, are simply mediocrity personified, a desperate wannabe with not a shred of discernible talent.

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  140. He did but bugger the boy

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  141. Was Roebuck simply another version of Michael Jackson?

    Discuss.

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  142. Great comments overnight. My thanks, even to the abusive and misguided. But not to those who hide beneath anonymity to settle old grudges. But I can understand and appreciate. Some points need to be addressed:
    1 Yes, most of this was public knowledge but it was up here before anywhere else while everyone else was ignoring the facts and eulogising. That's why 13,000 hits have been registered on this single page.
    2 It is tasteless to write criticism of a dead man, but this was a suicide apparently prompted by an arrest over sexual assault. I believe that makes this piece an important balancing factor. Nobody is yet privy to the full details of the happenings in the Newlands Sun on Saturday night. But plenty are still guessing long after I wrote this. The police are unlikely to reveal all now that Roebuck is dead.
    3 Links to this piece and lifts from it have now been used by 32 publications that I know of. Only the Sydney Morning Herald asked, via email, to reprint it. I agreed. I don't know what they did with it. I was surprised by their interest. I have also given seven radio interviews to discuss the above, I was approached by them, not vice versa.
    4 I recognise the good Peter did with youth cricket and his Pietermartizburg hostel but worry, in the light of his convictions and two reports from good sources yesterday, that it will be revealed to be flawed. I hope I'm wrong.
    5 Martin Crowe was never as popular or talented as Ian Botham in my opinion, but I cut it out as that sentence was being misinterpreted. I accept Somerset weren't doing well when Richards, Garner and Beefy left, but I interviewed Joel afterwards and the bitterness was apparent among players and fans.
    6 No mention of homosexuality or paedophilia has been made in this piece, I don't believe Roebuck was either. Others who have read that between the lines may be in possession of information I'm not privy to.
    7 I think the bloke was a great writer and a fine cricketer but not the kind of bloke I'd wear a black armband for.
    6 I have a chip on my should because I never made it to a posh public school with fine ties and great sports facilities. Sorry. I do consider some public school types odd but that is a generalisation I should not have made.
    Any other points not addressed, please feel free to email me on nealcollins@hotmail.com. For those offended, my apologies.

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  143. Did PaulFrame just out Keiswetter and Jones?!

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  144. I have actually found it quite hard to find the words to best sum up my feelings about your article (above), on the life and recent death of Peter Roebuck. Some that come to mind, but don't fully suffice would be venal, vindictive, uncharitable, opportunistic, homophobic, innuendo-strewn, repulsive and cheap. But I don't think any of those fully describe the horror of your despicable tirade. You're cleary a sick man Mr Collins. Get some professional help.

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  145. Thanks Alex. Will take your advice. But just stopped off on the way to the shrink to say: Many have written similar stuff since I did the piece above. Some have gone further with their "innuendo". Why exactly do people like you defend a convicted felon with such conviction? Why bring paedophilia and homosexuality in to the debate at all? I met the bloke. He could be repulsive and cheap too. Ask his old colleague Paul Newman at the Daily Mail what he was like... But hey, got to go. I'm clearly delusional. Time to get back to football!

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  146. I struggle to see how your article can be squred with this: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/cricket/peter-roebuck--a-tribute-from-his-first-african-son-20111114-1nfoa.html?rand=1321306513241

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  147. And the irony that the person who Roebuck was convicted of caning is actually far more balanced and understanding than Neal Collins who is milking the conviction for all the hits ( sic) he can get..
    http://www.news.com.au/world/henk-lindeque-lifts-the-lid-on-the-secret-life-of-a-cricket-master-peter-roebuck/story-e6frfkzr-1226196173999?sv=b14881ca615f21f6cbde450f408de8f9#.TsK2p9dceVU.twitter

    Nothing in that account suggests an systematic and evil procurer and abuser of youth. At worst Roebuck might have made an unsuccessful pass at a 19 year old which was rebuffed and that was the end of it.
    There is no shortage of heterosexual men might who are not averse to "trying it on" with girls of a similar age who are - people like Ronnie Wood don't ever get the same kind of abuse.

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  148. Yet another similar story http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/column_a_chapter_missing_in_roebucks_eulogies where there is smoke there is normally fire

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  149. Sadly, the 13,000 hits will be the only thing Collins will gain from this.

    He's currently out there comparing himself to Christopher Columbus as the one who 'broke' the story first. Sheer nonsense as it was all on the public record.

    It's a shame Collins' Christian beliefs don't extend to throwing stones. He could learn a lot from Christ's teachings of grace and dignity but instead he sniggers about bottoms, slandering a man 5 years older than himself as 'dodgy' (i.e. homosexual).

    Which in all his replies, he is still yet to account for his 25 year old immaturity back in '86.

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  150. Be careful of quoting Andrew Bolt. He was just found guilty of Racial Discrimination by the Federal Court of Australia;

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/bolt-loses-highprofile-race-case-20110928-1kw8c.html

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  151. Hey Neil, great article, you must be proud that it is supported by dudes like the guys who posted at 15 November 2011 12:44 and 09:56. I hope you don't inspire these hate filled fools to, I don't know, beat up someone they think looks gay, or 'dodgy' as you would say.

    As a brilliantly informed journo, I'm sure you are aware that homophobic hate crimes do happen. Well done on getting some newspapers desperate for readership to run your article. As you spend the royalties, just keep hoping that some poor man isn't lying dead in a gutter, killed by bigotry you helped justify.

    The good news is that the internet has a habit of ruining people who write articles like this. When advertisers start dropping out of websites that you feature on, your days are numbered. I hope you've got some savings.

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  152. You know what I hated about him? His manufactured aloofness and feigned dearth of knowledge on popular culture. Like they'd spot someone famous in the crowd.

    Jim Maxwell: And there's Sir Elton John enjoying an afternoon of cricket in the stand, a very big follower of the cricket..

    Peter Roebuck: Uh..so who's that then? Is he an actor?

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  153. Btw Neal, great job and a fair article.

    For those of you getting your knickers in a twist, nothing that Neal said was anything controversial at all.

    What is more disturbing is that you'd prefer to gloss over his obvious, compelling and longstanding issues in deference to the fact that he could write well about cricket.

    Jesus. Would you feel the same way if it was Dennis Ferguson? Oh sure he's a dirty paedophile, but he writes beautifully about cricket and that is how I want to remember him by sticking my head in the sand, and my fingers in my ears la-la-la-la-la-la.


    Great article Neal...the truth hurts but that doesn't mean we should stop pursuing it.

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  154. ***Be careful of quoting Andrew Bolt. He was just found guilty of Racial Discrimination by the Federal Court of Australia;***

    In fairness, that decision was so ludicrous that a number of MP's are suggesting the Act should be amended.

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  155. "In fairness, that decision was so ludicrous that a number of MP's are suggesting the Act should be amended."

    Is that right M Pearlstein? The one and the same act that has protected Jewish communities in Australia from racial vilification?

    http://www.galexia.com/public/research/articles/research_articles-art22.html

    Is that the one?

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  156. Yes, I thought that decision was poor and I suspect Bolt would be successful if he appealed. If not, then the law probably needs to be relaxed otherwise it will constrain reasonable criticism in a democratic society.

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  157. I'd love you to explain your reasoning behind relaxing the laws to the Jewish communities in Australia that have successfully used it as a vehicle to stop racial vilification.

    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/racial_discrimination/cyberracism/vilification.html

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  158. The United States has the largest Jewish population and no racial vilification laws. Maybe you could ask jewish people there how they manage.

    In the Bolt case the threshold for vilification was set far too low. Bolt's gripe about people getting special treatment on the basis of skin colour is quite legitimate. If that level of criticism and comment triggers the law, then it needs to be relaxed.

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  159. M Pearlstein, The special treatment (though it is negligible anyway) the Australian Aboriginals get has hardly made up for how far they were pushed back by government/society up until about thirty years ago. We are still bridging the gap between them and us, and there is still a lot of ground to be made up.
    This is largely due to the fact that they did not even receive official recognition as normal humans until the late 60s. No vote, no rights, no support.
    Would love to see Bolt appeal the decision, as he most certainly would fail.
    If Bolt had not focused on individuals then he would probably not have had an issue, but being the sensationalist he is, he had to put some faces to his article as it lacked any substance. As soon as he named names the way he did he was pushing the defamation boundary. No sympathy for that fool.

    Tell me, what reasonable criticism does the vilification laws constrain? Have seen no effect in the commentary pages of rags like the Herald Sun over the last decade, if anything, they are more outspoken.

    And Neal, your article contains regular insinuations on Roebucks personal life;

    "I came to no harm. I kept my back to the wall"
    "I didn't get a spanking"
    "Roebuck... was “dodgy” like so many other British public schoolboys who grew up in a boys-only school with jock-straps and lewd magazines for company."
    "he could use his status as a public figure to continue his wicked ways."

    Your constant denial of the rampant homophobia in this rant is quite bemusing.

    What are you suggesting "British public schoolboys," as you so eloquently put it, get up to?

    And what were the "wicked ways" he continued?

    We all know he caned a few young men for disciplinary reasons. Foolish? yes. Odd? In this day and age, yes. Reason to suspect he was engaging in anything other than consenting relations with young men, No.
    There has never been any evidence that he was involved in anything dodgy apart from the Caning and the current unfortunate matter.

    In any case Neal, your lack of tact and subtlety condemns you to a life of mediocrity when it come to the art of prose.

    But really you are just one of many these days.

    Tom,
    Australia.

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  160. "There are none so blind as those who will not see" (look at the whole murky story you blind defenders). At 75 years of age my eyesight is quite OK thank you. "Dodgy" seems to be quite an appropriate term in relation to poor old Pete. Good bloke, good Journo, journeyman cricketer, but I'm releived and grateful that he never left any marks on my skinny bum. Why jump out of a window when being questioned by police about sexual activities? (Yeah, I know it's South Africa, but SA coppers stopped throwing people out of windows 30 years ago didn't they?) Stick with it Neal, keep telling it like it really is. We unbiased readers appreciate and treasure the telling of truth in journalism these days. As they say: if it's got feathers and looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck.............well, doesn't it indicate that Peter Roebuck resembles some sort of feathered friend?

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  161. Errrr, out for a duck?

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  162. Rod Gearing said..."look at the whole murky story you blind defenders"

    OK Rod, enlighten us to the details which we are obviously not privy too then. Clearly you must have heard some more information on this than the rest of us. Or you are jumping to conclusions.

    Pretty clear from your comment that you are a little homophobic too; "he never left any marks on my skinny bum."

    So here's a bit of clarification; gay does not equal peodiphile.

    Tom,
    Australia.

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  163. Sadly Neal is out of action on the blog as his house was robbed last night and his laptop has been stolen.

    Neal Collins
    @nealcol
    To whoever broke in to my house last night and stole my precious lap top PLEASE it's got my whole life on it
    12 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone

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  164. Wow, it's true. Karma can work quickly.

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  165. ***M Pearlstein, The special treatment (though it is negligible anyway) the Australian Aboriginals get has hardly made up for how far they were pushed back by government/society up until about thirty years ago. We are still bridging the gap between them and us, and there is still a lot of ground to be made up.
    This is largely due to the fact that they did not even receive official recognition as normal humans until the late 60s. No vote, no rights, no support.***

    No, it is also due to human biodiversity. I suggest you read the article in Nature by Bruce Lahn & Lanny Ebenstein on Human Genetic Diversity. Also, you may wish to read Jon Haidt's article in Edge about Faster Evolution.

    ***Would love to see Bolt appeal the decision, as he most certainly would fail.
    If Bolt had not focused on individuals then he would probably not have had an issue, but being the sensationalist he is, he had to put some faces to his article as it lacked any substance. As soon as he named names the way he did he was pushing the defamation boundary.***

    I have no problem with the tort of defamation being used by individuals.

    ****Tell me, what reasonable criticism does the vilification laws constrain?***

    Criticism of protected minorities who behave poorly or take advantage of their skin colour. Laws of that kind can also constrain criticism of immigration policies, as has been the case in the Netherlands with Geert Wilders. These laws essentially rule off limits issues which some on the far left would prefer not to have to justify in the court of public opinion.

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  166. ASTONISHING! Just when we'd all started to think there might not be a god after all he goes and proves his existence by getting someone to steal Neal Collins' laptop!

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  167. At the end of the day, if Roebuck had been flirting with a 26-year-old woman, Collins would have written a very different article.

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  168. "At the end of the day, if Roebuck had been flirting with a 26-year-old woman, Collins would have written a very different article."

    - or no article at all.

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  169. YES! Now that Neal Collins the Brave has marched the frontier of slandering Roebuck for checking out young men, I hope he now blogs about every single man he has known in sport that has salivated over a young woman.

    C'mon Collins, be brave and fearless and name every man who's guffawed over a young woman.

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  170. For a measured report of the last few days, I suggest interested readers check this from the Australian news site, Crikey:
    http://www.crikey.com.au/?p=259676

    It is everything that Collins' article isn't.

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  171. My impression of Roebuck was he was a bully. It came through in his opinionated writings and commentry, often overlooking fact to push is onesided and often narrow views, the last Indian Cricket teams summer in Australia as a classic example. He was convicted of bullying back in 1999. Bullies are invariably cowards, using their power in ways to intimidate and coerse. The ultimate act of a bully is to avoid facing the music.

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  172. ***My impression of Roebuck was he was a bully. It came through in his opinionated writings and commentry***

    Having strong opinions doesn't make one a bully. Roebuck didn't restrict his criticisms to weak characters, he took on actual on field bullies like Ponting.

    Also, I don't think a coward would have made the brave and principled decision to support the Board in plumping for Martin Crowe, knowing it would provoke outrage from the likes of Botham.

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  173. Bullies do however impose themselves upon the vulnerable and abuse them. Cowards jump out of buildings when things start catching up on them.

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  174. Or they start writing blogs.

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  175. It is fascinating the number of people who want to defend a convicted abuser of others, yet take to task someone who voices an opinion based on a number of historical facts. We are not in the same league in terms of answerable behaviours.

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  176. It's fascinating to read the number of people here who want to slander someone when facts are yet to come out and the full story is yet to emerge.

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  177. Fact 1 - Pleaded guilty for assualt
    Fact 2 - Questioned for allegations of further assualt
    Fact 3 - Jumped out of building

    Looking forward to your commentary when the rest of the facts emerge.

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  178. It's a shame Collins didn't just blog that. But instead, he filled his post with immature innuendo and a homophobic narrative.

    Which is exactly what people are annoyed about.

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  179. All you non believers and posters above, if a male pins a 26 year old female to the bed against her will, it's called attempted rape, if he does it to a 26 year old male, it's still called attempted rape. He could have been looking at a spell in the big house, not a pleasant thought for a sex offender in a country that unfortunately has a high AIDS rate. http://www.news.com.au/world/student-claims-peter-roebuck-told-him-to-bring-stick-to-hotel-room/story-e6frfkzr-1226197977938

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  180. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  181. 1. Read this for a much more balanced take :
    http://heathenscripture.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/the-life-and-death-of-peter-roebuck-a-good-man-a-bad-man-or-something-in-between/
    2. Stop pretending you broke some major story... all facts about the conviction you mentioned was included in all obituaries from day 1. You just gave it a homophobic, nudge nudge spin coloured by some personal anecdotes that's all.
    3. Roebuck cannot give his side of the story on recent events.
    4. People commit suicide for many reasons - you have no idea what was going through his head.
    5. You neither knew Roebuck or his alleged victims so all you are is a hack armed with a google search.. people who knew him warts and all have generally had a more balanced take even when they did not get along with him. Does that tell you anything ?
    6. Writing shock jock articles about famous people will always get you hits especially if you bombard the twittersphere with links. Somehow , I don't think you would have the balls to try it with a living person though.

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  182. Peter Roebuck piece in The Australian this morning. Sick. Hope those above who defended him read this. And understand the difference between being homosexual and being a predator. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/your-sick-acts-humiliated-me-roebucks-alleged-victim-speaks-out/story-e6frg6so-1226198335279

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  183. wtf does that Australian prove, Neal? The 'student' is 26 years old. Twenty frickin' six years old ... and he expects us to believe he was 'groomed'? Over a period of a few short days? Bull*cough*shit.

    You are still pre-judging PR as being a predator ... and before you protest that you did not do so, you state it is the "difference between being homosexual and being a predator" and comment that it is "sick". It's obvious what your judgement of the situation is.

    Here you have a man, known for his intellect, his charity, and his principles, and who had never been convicted of paedophilia or sexual abuse, and yet you choose to believe the worst of him.

    His charity over years made him an easy mark.

    Now I'm open to the possibility that perhaps he was a manipulative sexual predator - but the *facts* as they are known do not support this assumption. The only things which support such assumptions are innuendo and gossip .... and that is precisely what your article is.

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  184. paedophiles are like that predetorial, taking in the unsuspected, why would a man cane 19 yrs old and then ask to see the marks? it is obvious,to ask to see those boys buttocks without reason would let the cat out of the bag he died a paedophile whether he was intellectual or not, one less pervert to worry about

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  185. You say "fact" loosely because this article is light on facts and/or incorrect. You have dressing room innuendo from the 1970's.
    In my country, one with a reputation for being 'rough & tumble' what happens in someone's bedroom is their business. And a 26yo is able to fend off unwanted advances from males or females without calling the cops.
    This is a sad case of a man not being able to, or allowed to, come to terms with his sexuality. Your attitudes are part of that problem. Thankfully attitudes like yours are dying, and so these type of deaths may not occur in the future.
    I also note that you would not have got away with this article while he was alive. You must have feared litigation.
    ... Or if for a moment we imagine your so called "facts" were right you would be an accessory to the crime as you should have blown the whistle then..... but the facts are you never had 'the' facts.
    You have not revealed any truth. As I said before you are classless. And on further pondering - you are a coward.

    peter in AUS

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  186. If Roebuck was gay, it seems tragic that this most forthright man felt unable to come out.
    Is it possible he was murdered? He was a strong critic of Mugabe & others.
    Mark, Australia

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  187. Realmarkoneail, it has to be considered, in my next blog I've added a link to a blog which believes he may have been murdered... but there is no evidence to back that up. The only evidence we have (without wishing to offend the many defenders of Roebucik) is that a man convicted of assaulting young men threw himself out of the window when confronted with policemen accusing him of sexual assault. The great sadness is that Roebuck was allowed to take vulnerable young men into his care despite his previous convictions.

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  188. Strange that. Today's The Star in Johannesburg claims (on their front page nogal) Peter Roebuck, the brilliant cricket writer who committed suicide last Saturday night, made a lad strip naked to earn a bursary, among other unsavoury acts before his tragic plunge. On Monday the same newspaper called for everyone at the current Wanderers Test match to wear black armbands for this wondrous character despite my early warning to their writers about Roebuck's dodgy past. And when I wrote http://neal-collins.blogspot.com/2011/11/peter-roebuck-eulogy-nobody-will-have.html I was deluged by abuse from their writers. Have a look at the comments, no doubt the apologies are in the post.

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  189. What are you hiding, Neal?
    You seem like you are on a mission.
    As I said, if you knew of these crimes and did not report it you are an accessory to a crime.
    Why do you want to believe the extreme worst?
    Why are you so fervent?
    Look in the mirror. What are your secrets? What mistakes have you made? Who will mourn you?
    Is this your chance at a big story because the class of your writing won't advance you? Or do you have darker demons?
    Coward!!!

    Pete in AUS

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  190. Pete, my mission is to expose the truth. Coward I'm not. Try messaging @nealcol on twitter. Let's do this in public. I've looked in the mirror, can't see any convictions for common assault or allegations of sexual assault. Raised my Roebuck suspicions several times. But ABC and Fairfax gave him a job regardless. Come on, come out from behind there! Coward.

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  191. Mr Collins. Clearly you think it still the 19th Century: times have moved on and being gay no longer matters except to small-minded, right wing, insecure bigots like you. Were you not so intent to ignore South Africa's constitution - which outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation - I would invite you to take account of the fact that with Roebuck's death we have only one version of events to go on (that of the complainant) and so, therefore, to approach that account (as given exclusively to a Star journalist) with caution. It may be an accurate account of what happened or it may not; the complainant may have been assualted or he may have been a consenting adult. We will never know what you so childishly refer to as 'the truth'.

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  192. Richard, I don't care if the bloke was gay, made no reference to his sexuality. It's the use of his power and his abuse of those in his care which I'm highlighting.

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  193. Almost immediately after saying he was 'not a great man', your piece diverts to the 'watch your bottom' story and then soon after to the 'dodgy public school boy' reference. Old fashioned homophobia. But clearly you are blind to your own prejudice.

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  194. Not homophobic. Just don't like "brave, forthright" cricket writers who hide their real motivations. Now read: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=55424

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  195. The issue is that you seem to be confusing expressing dislike for a person with groundbreaking journalism. There is no new information in your piece and the writing is infantile 80s tabloid kitsch. You may have got a few thousand hits by spamming everyone from Stephen Fry to Agnew on twitter but ultimately all the issues have been covered without dodging any topics far better by far better journalists. You think Roebuck was a bad person - we get it and you may have good reasons for that. That doesn't make you a good writer about the issue.

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  196. Fair point. Never meant this to be a flowery, well-written account of Peter Roebuck's life. Simply put the truth out there a week before anybody else. That's called good journalism. Not the well-written tosh the crickety types were spouting.

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  197. Let me make this clear.. I despise pedophiles and sexual predators. However I would like to see some real facts before homophobic journos trash his legacy. If Neal Collins was a strong journo then he should have written this article before Roebuck died and not waited until after he died.Alas Neil lacked the balls to do so.
    Even I can write a trashy article about a dead man who can't defend himself and I'm not a journo.
    Roebuck has been dead for a week and a half now and yet no one has come forward since to say "he molested me". If he was a sexual predator then there would have been hundreds of victims and yet not one (except for the initial Gondo allegations) has come forward. Where are the British Tabloids.Don't they know where South Africa is? I'm sure they would love this seedy story to print but google has not come up with one article.
    I will have no sympathy for Roebuck if he turns out to be a sexual molester of young men but please please please give me some facts from people other than anonymous people who do not wish to be named.
    Signed Anonymous person who does not wish to be named.

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  198. http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/roebuck-architect-of-his-own-demise-1.1182012

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  199. To all critics of Neal Collins:
    Wait until the results of the inquest (i.e. THE FACTS) are published. I strongly suspect most of you are going to owe him an apology for your nasty comments...

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  200. I think this article from the Age in Australia tells us all we need to know http://www.theage.com.au/sport/cricket/the-roebuck-tragedy-a-tale-of-love-beatings-and-blackmail-20111231-1pgmk.html

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