It's hard to think of a dumber move in sport than Andrew Fifita's comment which ended his move to the Bulldogs from the Sharks.
Actually, no it's not. There's NFL star Plaxico Burress who thought he'd take his gun with him to a nightclub in New York and accidentally shot himself in the leg, wounding himself even more in the aftermath when he got done for not having a valid permit. There's also world-beating swimmer Michael Phelps — the subject of an infamous photograph of the multiple Olympic champ taking a hit from a bong.
Unfortunately, in the wide world of sports, there's always someone who manages to uphold the prejudices of those who think all sportspeople are dumb, sweaty jocks who can't think much further ahead than their next meal of steak and steroids.
Fifita was pilloried when he went public, telling a reporter he wished he'd signed with rugby; the Bulldogs then withdrew their A$800,000 a year offer. After jumping the gun and saying he was going to the Dogs (pun intended), Fifita upset fans at his club, the Cronulla Sharks, who have not had a happy time of it lately after losing their coach, after being caught up in the NRL drugs scandal and, perhaps as a result, being bottom of the table in this year's competition.
To hear one of their leading players setting his cap at the Bulldogs — and then saying he'd rather play rugby — was a slap in the face. Never mind his IQ, Fifita must have sounded to many of the Sharks' faithful as if he was concerned mostly about money.
Coming out of this well has been the Bulldogs' New Zealand chief executive, Raylene Castle. She has been quoted as underlining the fact that it wasn't Fifita's "I wish I'd chosen rugby" comments that nixed the deal and led to the Dogs withdrawing their highly lucrative offer. She has also said the offer to Fifita wasn't as high as the reported A$3 million-plus over four years.
Whatever way you look at this, Castle has enhanced her value as a CEO. Either way, she got the better of the deal. The Dogs already have a powerful forward pack with James Graham, Frank Pritchard and Sam Kasiano.
She proved she was a careful negotiator if they, in fact, did not offer Fifita the moon. Her analytical powers look good, too — who needs an expensive cannonball with little or no judgement?
Fifita's management team have now asked the NRL to look into the reasons why the deal fell apart and have said Fifita knew the deal was on the rocks when he made his rugby comments. Oh yeah? Contract negotiations are, by definition, private things.
There is little to be gained from making positions public — for either club or player. If things were going wrong, as it now appears, then both sides withdraw and go their separate ways. End of story.
You don't gob off to a reporter about wanting to play rugby. Those who espoused the conspiracy theory that Fifita had made the rugby comments in order to force the Dogs' hand so he could get out of the deal must be feeling a bit foolish about such Machiavellian machinations. Fifita said he was going to the Dogs before he had signed his contract and, if his handlers are to be believed, before the money had been sorted. Hardly Albert Einstein, is it?
The shame of it is that this kind of buffoonery makes many think that sportspeople have brains which fit in their wallets. The reality is that many sportspeople are smarter than average; those who achieve often achieve in more than one area. There will always be the dummkopfs, of course, but then that is true of any walk of life.
Sport also offers some interesting contradictions. In my experience, front rowers are often either the most entertaining and/or the smartest in a rugby team. I remember fondly Sean Fitzpatrick, Richard Loe, the droll intellectualism of John Drake and the wonderful character that was Peter Fatialofa.
Fifita doesn't seem to fit either of those categories. Still, it could be worse — he could be LaShawn Merritt. He was the US athlete who claimed he failed three drugs tests because he had taken a penis enlargement product which contained a banned steroid.
He was the 2008 Olympic champion and world champion but being banned for wanting your diddle to be bigger is embarrassing all round.
But, look, maybe it isn't the athletes who are dimmest. Maybe it's sports bodies.
Like the IAAF who, on being faced with shot putter Nadya Ostapchuk's performance-enhancing drugs use, banned her for only four years instead of life. All that does is say to drugs cheats that there is a tomorrow.
And how dumb is that?