Kent: No misdemeanour goes unseen
VIDEO not only killed the radio star. More than a few NRL careers have felt the celluloid sword as well.
Jack Wighton's short to midterm future with the Canberra Raiders and the NRL now rests on the CCTV footage ACT Police will present in the ACT Magistrates Court.
Nobody can be sure where a camera is these days.
When NFL running back Ray Rice and his fiancee Janay Palmer were charged with domestic violence in 2014 it looked like a drunken night gone horribly wrong.
The NFL initially suspended Rice for two games.
Celebrity network TMZ then uncovered CCTV footage of Rice knocking Palmer out in the elevator and carrying her out.
Rice was sacked by the Baltimore Ravens after the vision emerged.
Former England vice-captain Ben Stokes got himself in trouble
An early defence went out that Stokes was defending a friend against homophobic slurs.
An admirable defence.
Then CCTV footage emerged of men in the streets putting their hands up in surrender and Stokes walking through them regardless, knocking them out.
His actions quickly became indefensible.
And there went the Ashes tour.
It is unclear whether Wighton's appearance is merely for a mention, which would mean an adjournment, or whether the full brief will be heard.
If the matter is heard and the CCTV is submitted as evidence, which makes it publicly accessible, Wighton's future in the game will depend less on the criminal aspect than the it does aesthetics.
Stokes had support right up until his vision revealed him punching unwilling men.
The NRL is about to register Todd Carney to play again in the NRL.
Carney was sacked four years ago after a photo of him urinating in his own mouth went viral.
Without that photo he would still be playing in the NRL today.
Even if a disgusted fan witnessed it, where to from there?
Undocumented complaints come into the Telegraph every day.
Without photographic evidence, they fall to the editorial floor. At most they become a whisper around the game, an anonymous paragraph in a gossip column.
Even with that photo it would have been hard to justify a story in the public interest.
But once posted to social media there was no longer a question of whether it was in the public interest
The tens of thousands of hits answered that. And the definition of public interest has shifted considerably.
We can wail against it all we like but social media has created a whole new, dangerous stream and it is almost ungovernable.
It became a media sensation, sparked by social media and not mainstream media.
It went mainstream when the disgust directly impacted the Sharks and their sponsors, who soon dropped off.
The NRL surveyed the market place damage caused and felt there was no option but to deregister Carney from the game.
Only now can we see how expensive a decision it was.
Mitch Pearce would have saved himself a $125,000 an a 12-game suspension if a partygoer with a questionable motive had not considered it a lucrative idea to sneak a mobile phone into his lap and record Pearce acting silly at a private party.
Without the video a woman calls and complains that an NRL player dry-humped her dog.
There is nowhere to go with that.
Armed with the video, though, and a bidding war took place.
Again, the NRL took into account the damage Pearce's actions caused around the world - the viral video made overseas websites - and slapped Pearce with the heavy penalty.
No video, he plays the first week.
NRL players are constantly warned of the dangers of mobile phones and now, increasingly so, CCTV.
Teams quickly learned about this time the straight denial was no longer a straight forward option.
Years back, when mobile phones were just beginning to be equipped with cameras, Trent Barrett got up and did push-ups on a bar in his underwear at a little out of the way pub at Warrawong, down Wollongong way.
The story quickly circulated the game. Teammates found it funny enough to quickly share with others. A pub patron was blamed for spreading the story.
Then NRL boss David Gallop was at the Crowne Plaza in Coogee with several others when his phone rang.
It was the Dragons.
The media was onto the story but they believed if they denied it they could ride it out. I was standing next to Gallop when the call came.
Gallop listened and had only one question.
"Can you be sure there was no one there who took a photo with their mobile phone?"
There was a pause.
Barrett was fined $2000. Most considered it harsh. An annoyance went around the game at the zero tolerance policy of players skylarking in their private time.
But that was the moment the innocence died.