While I do not know Grant personally, I swim at his home pool, and watched him train for years. I watched him show up for kids, for fund raisers, always with a smile.
He is a big guy, but he always came across as being kind and thoughtful. He was raised by very good people, and this shows.
As an age group endurance athlete I know a little about distance sport. I know that you have to channel every ounce of your energy into your sport, saying no to the usual youthful passions of binge drinking and partying.
Grant was known for being a pillar of the sport. In my eyes he still is a pillar of the sport.
Heavens knows the level of inner despair he must have been in to break anything, yet alone a whole apartment.
On his interview last night he did not, at any time, say anything negative against his wife. Not one word. Not even an innuendo.
He took all the blame on himself. For this I applaud him. So few people do this…at anytime, yet alone under extreme duress. Blame is so easy to do…the choice of most, one of the most endemic sicknesses of our society. And when I search the twittersphere for tweets on this matter, that is all I see more of…blame, violence in tweeting, nasty nasty stuff…blindly no better in their own actions than the actions they are condemning.
It was from this that I felt compelled to write a response.
I am not sure I would have advised he appear on TV under any circumstances, as his silence to date has spoken the loudest about who he is. Someone with a great deal of dignity and a refusal to slip into the gutter. But then I am not in on the whole story, and I certainly haven’t been following it. One of my most favourite movies is a little know film called The Contender, about a woman, played by Joan Allen, who is nominated for VP of the USA. Given the dirty shape of any form of public life, her past was dredged up and exposed. She refused, at all times, to comment. It took everything to hold her nerve to not buy into the noise about this. It was only at the end of the movie that she spoke in private to the President, informing him of what directed her actions in her early twenties.
Oh, sure, it is easy for us to write about domestic violence, about the degree’s of that…whether it is limited to yelling and tantrum throwing, to verbal abuse, or to actual physical violence. I am not endorsing any form of domestic violence. But please people, look at the society we have crafted…you and me, parents of children. Bullying is common practice. Blame, bullying, cruelty of words…taunting, spite…belittling others…just look at how we are doing this very thing towards Grant now. We are no better.
If you have NEVER, ever raised your voice in sheer frustration towards a loved one, if you have never taunted, played spiteful… then feel free to judge away and be righteous. But if, like me, you have done this, then zip it, and find some compassion.
(I once threw a phone across the room when trying to deal with Telstra…I am sure I am not the first to do this! I also punched a wall in sheer frustration when I was married…it hurt me a lot, and the wall, but it felt really good. To shift some of my very agro energy is one of the reasons I run and swim. Its a healthy way to channel that energy. But we are not taught how to manage healthy anger, and so we have road rage, school yard rage…and on it goes.)
No one but Grant and his wife know the truth, and even then the truth between the both of them is going to be subjective.
What is certain as night is to day, the verbal abuse and taunting was not one sided. Just like in the Nick Darcy case. It never is. Not ever. Yet few of us have the backbone and integrity to hold it as our responsibility.
As I wrote in my blog post today, we are an indulged, obese, entitled, blame based society, unwilling to take personal responsibility for much at all. Grant did not play this sick little game. He took the whole lot.
He has a place at my table, anytime. I hope he can bring his kids.