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Opinion: Nick Willis deserves praise, not scorn, for porn admission

There's been much sniggering since Nick Willis' candid admission that he had been addicted to pornography, and the extent to which it affected his family.

One can only imagine what had been going through the mind of the Olympic silver medal winner, committed Christian, and husband and father when he decided to go public, given his name will forever be associated with the topic.

Sports stars confessing drug, alcohol or gambling addictions are dime and dozen, if you'll forgive the expression, but Willis is claiming new ground with his remarkable candour on a topic often hidden behind brown paper bags and secret internet browsers.

For that, he deserves nothing but praise and support, and his subsequent efforts to shed light on the damage porn does to the women involved, while probably futile, makes a nice change from athletes shamelessly plugging their sponsors at every opportunity.

It also stands in marked contrast to the actions of Premier League club Sunderland, who have come under fire for their handling of a sex scandal involving a star player.

They recently fired Adam Johnson after he was found guilty of sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan, the 28-year-old having groomed the girl, who was a season ticket holder and had been excited about being given a signed shirt by the former England international.

Toni Street says she thought it was a courageous move by the athletics star. Source: Seven Sharp

Despite insisting they had been blindsided by Johnson's earlier admission in court that he kissed the schoolgirl, it has emerged the club had been handed over 800 WhatsApp messages, many said to be of a sexual nature, between Johnson and the victim, last year.

Despite that, Johnson was free to play until his guilty plea, picking up millions in wages in the interim.

The club's chief executive Margaret Byrne has apparently left the country as the grand old club comes under increasing pressure to explain why it allowed a now convicted child sex offender to play on, despite knowing he had kissed the vulnerable teen.

The victim impact report makes heartbreaking reading

"They last 12 months have been horrendous and there have been times when I've wanted to hide away from the world. There have been times I haven't felt able to face people.

"There have been times when I've tried not to show people how upset I am, but sometimes it hasn't been possible and I'd just cry. I've felt so broken."

Sunderland's stonewalling of the issue shows a remarkable lack of insight about the impact of theirs and Johnson's actions, and add further weight to the claim that professional sport in general has a women problem.

While clearly not at the same level as Johnson, Willis has shown remarkable insight into the damage his behaviour causes, and his decision to stick his head above the parapet and take the inevitable hits deserves our applause.

The new Oceania record holder says today’s vault of 4.80m is the perfect preparation she needs for this year. Source: 1 Sport

HERO OF THE WEEK

While it's far to early to abel Eliza McCartney a medal prospect, the future looks very bright for the pole vault ace after she smashed the Oceania record at the national champs this weekend.

It adds to a growing sense that something special is going on in Kiwi athletics, with shot putters Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill also heading for Rio.

ZERO OF THE WEEK

If not for Shaun Johnson, the Warriors opening-round defeat by the Tigers could have been so much worse.

Their defence was embarrassing, and if something doesn't improve soon, coach Andrew McFadden will surely be looking for a new job soon.

Sex therapist Mary Hoson says the Olympic runner’s public confession could help others come forward for help. Source: Breakfast