In an whirlwind night for Australian cricket, two players apologised for their role in the ball tampering scandal, and the coach of the Australian cricket team announced his shock resignation.
Darren Lehmann, team coach, said his decision to step down was “the right thing to do” after seeing Steve Smith, former captain, and teammate, Cameron Bancroft, make emotional apologies to the Australian public earlier on March 29.
“After viewing Steve and Cameron’s hurting it’s only fair that I make this decision,” said Lehmann, who fought back tears during the statement.
Scroll down for Steve Smith’s apology
Lehmann, who had been cleared for any involvement in the ball tampering plot, had earlier told media he would not resign.
Ex-captain Steve Smith received a 12 month suspension, 100 hours of community work within Australian cricket, and a two year ban from being captain, for his complicity in allowing Cameron Bancroft to ball tamper under vice-captain David Warner’s orders.
Bancroft was suspended for nine months, and Warner was banned for one year.
“I’m extremely disappointed and regret my actions, I’m sorry to those people who have looked up to me in the cricket world and especially the kids,” Bancroft said in an emotional press conference on Thursday.
Many sporting, media, and political personalities took to twitter to express their support for Smith and Warner after their heartfelt apologies.
Ex-Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke wrote that Smith’s speech was “devastating” to watch.
— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) March 29, 2018
So very hard to watch, well done Smithy and Bangas, horrible to see the pain they are in! They did wrong but will be back bigger and better! #goodyoungmen
— Ryan Harris (@r_harris413) March 29, 2018
Tough to watch Cameron & Steve go through the 2 statements they just made. They will learn from this & be better in the future I’m sure!
— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) March 29, 2018
Bill Shorten, opposition leader, tweeted, “No one’s perfect. A terrible lapse in judgement but good people make mistakes. Credit to Steve Smith for fronting up. Now let’s give him some time and space.”
Former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who was the centre of his own scandal earlier this year, weighed in, saying, “Enough is enough. Smith, Warner & Bancroft did wrong, they have paid for it. What are you trying to do? They aren’t criminals”
Enough is enough. Smith, Warner& Bancroft did wrong, they have paid for it. What are you trying to do? They aren’t criminals.
— Barnaby Joyce (@Barnaby_Joyce) March 29, 2018
We are not the sum total of our greatest mistakes. My heart goes out to @stevesmith49 who has given me so much cricketing joy over the years. He is also a thoroughly decent human being. I stand by him and will be here upon his return. #SteveSmith
— Peter Helliar 🌈🌥☘️ (@pjhelliar) March 29, 2018
No one's perfect. A terrible lapse in judgement but good people make mistakes. Credit to Steve Smith for fronting up. Now let’s give him some time and space.
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) March 29, 2018
On Thursday, Warner released a statement on Twitter advising fans they will hear from him in a few days.
— David Warner (@davidwarner31) March 29, 2018