Thursday, February 18, 2016

Garry Lyon & The "Mental Illness" Defence.

In Australia this week, our mainstream media has been treated (???) to the odious spectacle of a good old fashioned sex scandal. 

The scandal involves two former Australian Rules Footballer's, Billy Brownless of Geelong and Garry Lyon of Melbourne. It has emerged that Lyon was engaged in a long term affair with the ex-wife of Billy Brownless and that it has effectively destroyed the friendship between the two men. Further, in the fall out from the revelations, Garry Lyon has stepped aside from his gig as the host of "The Footy Show" a national weekly television program that talks all things footy citing mental illness. Brownless is also a panellist on that show.

Friendships Destroyed (image credit: News Limited).

Lyon has gone into hiding, leaving his representatives to make various vague statements publicly about his mental health in an effort to diffuse the situation that has already blown up around him. 

I call bullshit.

Garry Lyon no more has a mental illness than I am an aquatic humanoid with gills.

I find it increasingly apparent that people in the public eye - especially those who have been caught out for their particulary tawdry behaviour, quickly throw up mental illness as defence in order to protect their reputation. 

Having cultivated a certain image over a long period of time, ensuring that they only show the side of themselves that they want the public to see, when they transgress and expose their true nature, they do anything they can to explain away their actions. It's called damage control, harm minimization. 

Let's get it on (image credit Uproxx).

Garry Lyon, the former AFL hero, the respected football commentator and all around "top bloke" gets caught in a salacious, sexual tryst with his best mate's ex-wife with all the froth and bubble of a Bold & The Beautiful plot line. It blows up in the mainstream press like a roadside bomb with shrapnel hitting the TV news, internet portals and print newspapers. To mitigate the damage to his oh-so-carefully constructed personal image, his people quickly strategize and throw out the mental illness defence in order to garner sympathy. 

Mental illness is a serious issue, afflicting many thousands of people everyday. We struggle with it - often in silence - although many great strides have been made in growing awareness and reducing the stigma for sufferers.

When public figures default to the mental illness defence in order to explain away their shitty behaviour, it diminishes the gravity of mental illness, makes it a topic of derision for FM shock jocks and glossy magazines who all snigger at it with a wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Gary Lyon is a shit head who couldn't keep his dick in his pants. He's destroyed two marriages and a friendship in the process and by engaging in this selfish act of damage control, deferring to the "mental illness" defence, he damages the credibility of a silent scourge that afflicts so many. 

Garry Lyon should just front up and tell the truth - that he's an inconsiderate prick.



  1. Snarky indeed ;-)

    I do believe mental illness makes people do shitty things. I do believe people who are suffering mental anguish will often do anything that feels good at the time in order to numb the pain, no matter what the consequence. I do believe hurting people hurt other people, even people they care about, and that it isn't intentional but a symptom of self sabotage at a very deep level that they don't even recognise themselves.

    But I don't at all believe this was the case with Lyon, and agree with what you have said. And it angers me that mental illness is used as a scapegoat here which does nothing more than diminish and patronise the reality of mental illness for those who truly suffer.

    Great blog.

    1. Thanks Kathy. It has been particularly galling to watch this spectacle because I think of my own experience - *not* sexual dalliances to be clear - and think about how hard the battle really is. For these celebs to trot out the mental illness card so flippantly, it makes a mockery of the battle and everything I have tried to do.

  2. I agree 100% with what you say, a real dog act by a so called mate.

    1. I note that the mainstream media has so far stayed away from questioning the veracity of Lyon's mental illness claims - although the Syndney Morning Herald came close.

      I think this is an issue that is worth pursuing.

  3. Am I missing something here, it was Billy's ex wife or estranged wife, not Bill's wife anymore, so what does it matter who she gets with or shags

    1. Purting aside the reports that the former Mrs. Brownless had been engaged in the affair with Lyon for anywhere upto *four years* - when yhe Brownless marriage only foundered last year, the issue I have with Lyon is that he is conveniently citing "mental illness" as a means to explain his behavior, a tactic that is frequently employed by public figures to minimize their bad behaviour that adversely affects their carefully cultivated persona.

  4. The main issue for Lyon (and those like him) is that they take the moral high ground in their critiques of the footy fraternity, which includes a lot of poking fun at individuals. Ala Lyons'criticism of Gary Ablett Junior's captaincy credentials. Must be a very painful experience for Gary to completely lose that position and thereby make the very role of his media position effectively null and void. Very depressing for hom indeed.