CHAMPION hurler DJ Carey has said rumours about his business life and how he was charging big money for visiting GAA clubs were rubbish – but the claims still hurt him.
He revealed rumours about him thinking he was a "big shot" or was having money trouble may have seemed "harmless" but were not.
"Sometimes, it's to do with familiarity, a sense that because people know you, they own part of you," he wrote in his new autobiography, 'DJ: A Sporting Legend'.
"I always got on well with the majority of Kilkenny supporters – by the way the town where I was supposed to have committed the great sin of egotism is not in Kilkenny – but I was conscious too that the knockers were out there. It was nothing personal, just a state of mind among some people who like to try and bring others down."
He gave the example of one night he called to see Eddie Keher, his former bank manager.
"He lived in a house attached to the bank and sometimes I'd drop in on him at around five o'clock in the evening," he recalled.
"We might sit down with a cup of tea and talk hurling for an hour and a half and discuss my business affairs for half an hour. But because I was in with him for two hours, the word went out: 'DJ's in real trouble; he was in the bank for two hours the other evening. Things must be going bad. He looked terrible when he came out'. Then, there were the rumours that I was charging big money to attend presentation and award functions.
"I wasn't. I never asked for anything and very often never got anything, not even the price of the diesel for the car."
He said he was sometimes offered money but handed it back to the club.
"I'd often bring a few signed hurleys for an auction or raffle so the club actually made money from my visit. No problem there, but it annoyed me when things were twisted to give the impression that I was a presentation mercenary, pocketing a fortune every weekend. Nothing could be further from the truth."
He said it was different if he was working for a company or a promotion which was designed to make money, in which case he was happy to accept a fee because he was providing his time for a commercial concern.
"Despite the clear demarcation lines between business and club functions, the rumours persisted that I was making a fortune," he said.
"Worse still, some of them came from inside Kilkenny. I know of one club in the county where it was suggested that they ask me to make presentations, only for an officer to pipe up: 'no, no – DJ will be looking for five hundred pounds'.
"Where did he hear that? Since it wasn't true, it had to be a case of listening to rumours and taking them as true without ever checking.
"Why would people spread lies? Why would an official in the Kilkenny club say I'd charge five hundred pounds when he had no basis for it? Why didn't he ring me up and ask me. If the date suited, I would have done it and he would have found out that it came for free.
"Instead of that, he was happy to spread a false rumour. I just don't understand it."
- John Spain
'DJ: A Sporting Legend' by DJ Carey with Martin Breheny will be published by Blackwater Press tomorrow at €18.99. More extracts in Sport.