Disgraced former Australia captain Steve Smith landed in Sydney on Thursday and pleaded forgiveness from fans and Australian public in an emotional appeal. The 28-year-old broke down more than once while addressing the Australian media, and vowed to earn back the respect.
Following is the complete text of his statement and his interaction with the press:
To all of my teammates, to fans all over the world, and to all Australians who are disappointed and angry, I am sorry. What happened in Cape Town has already been laid out by Cricket Australia. Tonight, I want to make clear that as captain of the Australian cricket team, I take full responsibility.
I made a serious error of judgement and I now understand the consequences. It was a failure of leadership…my leadership. I’ll do everything I can to make up for my mistake and the damage it has caused. If any good can come of this, it would be a lesson to others and I hope I can be a force of change.
I know I’ll regret this for the rest of my life. I am absolutely gutted. I hope in time I can earn back the respect and forgiveness. I have been so privileged and honoured to represent my country and captain the Australian cricket team. Cricket is the greatest game in the world; it’s been my life, and I hope it can be again. I am sorry and I am absolutely devastated.
I'll take a few questions now.
On being asked to reflect on the incident:
Good people make mistakes. I have made a big mistake by allowing this to happen. It was a huge error of judgement on my part. I am deeply sorry.
On whether similar incidents have happened before under his captaincy:
To my knowledge this has never happened before. This is the first time I have seen this happen and I assure you it won’t happen again.
On if he blames David Warner for the incident
No I don’t blame anyone. As I said, I am the captain of the Australian team. It’s on my watch. I take full responsibility of what happened last Saturday in Cape Town.
To youngsters who look up to him
I’ll say three things. Firstly, I am deeply sorry. I love the game, I love entertaining young kids. I love kids wanting to play the great game of cricket. And two other things is anytime you think about making a questionable decision, think about who you are affecting, you are affecting your parents. To see the way my old man’s been…it hurts. I just want to say I am sorry for the pain I have brought to Australia and the fans and the public, it's devastating and I'm truly sorry.