IT IS a tough life for celebrity sportspeople when it comes to doing the normal things in life.
Sure they get a lot of money for doing what they love, but little things like tea at a restaurant, a play in the park or even a walk to the hotel can end up a less than relaxing event, as Alistair Clarkson found out.
The Hawthorn coach was walking back to his hotel after a loss to the local Port Adelaide side and was harassed by a supporter who had probably imbibed a little too much at the game.
Clarkson had pushed him away already to gain some space before any space was taken away by the supporter's antics.
Clarkson reacted, as most of us would, and it ends up on the front pages of the paper.
The same issue probably happens 1000 times a weekend outside and inside pubs across the country - right or wrong - and there is no story to be had.
The boys obviously didn't learn their lesson and stuck around to continue to be fools to the rest of the playing group as they arrived.
A similar incident happened with another AFL star and the person who sat there and filmed it made $5k from the local media.
So now everyone knows if they film a Richard Cranium harassing a star, they might make money.
Why wait and hope to be lucky?
Go halves with the idiot you send in to harass them and make some quick cash.
Many have mentioned this week that the access we have to Australian sports stars is unprecedented compared with other countries but it is in danger of changing.
You should be able to see them in the street, maybe a slight sledge (funny hopefully) and a good-natured interaction.
Most I have met are happy to have photos taken and say hello.
If you imagine doing that every day, they are pretty good for entertaining that on a consistent basis.
We don't want to lose that on the back of a few drunken fools looking for their five minutes of fame.
The great thing about this incident is that not only is Clarkson not being dragged across the coals for protecting his personal space, the young lad has to face his local footy club board to explain the actions that have led to the club being identified.
He is not being lauded by his club but dragged in to explain his actions.
That shows support for the stars of the code from the grass roots level, which is the best message that can be sent.
We need to protect the opportunity for our kids to meet and see their idols up close.
Lose that and it's no longer a dream that they can touch, and they deserve that right.
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