Asia Pacific Media Educator


In recent years Australia’s football codes have been rocked by allegations that star players, both past and present, have acted inappropriately off-field. In some instances these allegations have involved violence towards partners. This paper explores one such case, involving former AFL great Wayne Carey. In so doing, it explores the so-called ‘cult of celebrity’ and the impact this has both on the players and the media who cover such stories. People caught up in traumatic situations labelled as domestic violence have been vulnerable to media misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Coverage of these events and issues surrounding such violence has undergone change in line with social change. Work by community groups has produced calls for further shifts in thinking and suggestions for a name change to family violence. The so‑called ‘Wayne Carey Affair’ has demonstrated that journalists have their own vulnerabilities to the cult of celebrity, with extended interviews and coverage often centred on possible explanations/ “excuses” for the behaviour patterns of this one individual avoiding the wider social policy implications. By examining coverage surrounding Wayne Carey, this paper will explore the issues surrounding this major social problem and will question the role of journalists vis a vis the particularly vulnerable individuals caught up in family violence.