Michael Clarke and the blonde

It's fascinating how the media and public opinion can work to create a mess of people's reputations. Mind you the celebs contribute a fair bit to their own difficulties.

Take the Michael Clarke business. He's a professional sportsperson on tour with his national side and he flies home to be with his distraught girlfriend.

Is this appropriate behaviour given his position as vice captain? Ricky Pointing has apparently sanctioned it saying he can take the time he needs to sort matters out.

If he were going home to comfort his fiancée of two years, the underwear and fashion model, Lara Bingle, that would be one thing. But now reports are emerging that he is about to dump her. Why can't he just text her like a normal bloke would, asks one on line comment.

In my view there are three nasty people here. One is the former boy friend, Brendan Fevola, first for taking the photo of Lara in the shower in the first place. He showed it to his mates - "hey boys look at my current squeeze" - a desperate attempt to elevate his own status. And he sold the picture to a magazine without her permission.

The second nasty person is the editor of the Women's Day who published the picture. The only motive could be titillation (I use the word correctly but not as a pun). What public interest is served by publication, other than the magazine's interest in promoting sales?  Whatever else Lara might be, she did not seek or sanction the photo being taken or sold.

But Lara then went and weakened her own moral position by subsequently selling her story to the very same publication; not a good idea. It makes her look like a cheap gold digger even if she does give some of the money to charity.

And then there is Michael Clarke, apparently bemused and embarrassed by the attention the matter has generated. Chill Michael. Whoever has done what and for whatever reason, you had done nothing the public could find fault with - until you decided to go home. You'll get some sympathy points from some, if you are genuinely being, 'there for her' a shoulder to cry on, a calm man in a crisis, and all that stuff.

But you risk being reviled by both cricket supporters, and the celebrity slobbering brigade if it turns out that you are going home to dump her. Why compound her agony at this vulnerable time? Whatever you do now you risk destroying the public sympathy for yourself, as well as jeopardizing your cricketing and team reputation as a sound bloke to have around in a cricketing crisis.  The media game is an unfamiliar wicket for you Michael.

The saga started with a jilted lover, seeking revenge. It's being aided by an amoral media who aren't interested in much more than stories that sell magazines. And the me, me, me, centered celebs are helping them all the way. Is that what the world has come to?