They say that those who the gods adore, first they make mad. If this is the case then the gods must really have the hots for Ronnie O’Sullivan.
His slapdash shot selections at the end of his 5-4 defeat to Marco Fu in the China Open this week raised eyebrows but his behaviour at the post match press conference defied belief.
You will probably have read his comments and maybe viewed the video footage. It was, as World Snooker chairman Sir Rodney Walker has said today, unacceptable.
Ronnie was obviously bored by the amount of time the Chinese journalists’ questions and his answers were taking to be translated between languages and amused himself by chatting to a World Snooker official.
At this point, he appeared not to consider he was being filmed and recorded but he must have known, on picking up the microphone and uttering a particularly lewd remark, that this would be picked up.
The blame for all of this lies with Ronnie and Ronnie alone. It’s easy to blame World Snooker officials and say that they should have stopped him but you can’t. He is, and always has been, his own man.
In a previous life, I was myself World Snooker press officer and we had O’Sullivan along to launch a tournament. His behaviour then was similar to how it was in Beijing this week. I aired my misgivings back at base but nothing was done then and very little has been done since.
Also, don’t blame the media for reporting it. There have been instances where Ronnie has said other outrageous things in press conferences and they have gone unreported.
However, in this case his comments were not only filmed but posted on the internet. They went around the web yesterday like a runaway train, impossible to stop.
It’s easy, of course, for newspapers to take the moral high ground. Although many people would have been offended by the footage, just as many will have found it hilarious.
However, Ronnie hasn’t done himself any favours and my advice to him now is very simple: issue an immediate apology and draw a line under the whole thing.
Nobody wants to drive Ronnie out of snooker but this has not been his finest hour and he will have to face up to whatever the consequences are.