What's wrong with America. Russell Crowe is preparing to pay $14 million to the New York hotel clerk whom he is accused of assaulting, a British newspaper has reported. Crowe tried to phone Australia from his New York hotel room early on June 6. Enraged by the inability of the phone to obtain an outside line, Crowe is alleged to have hurled it at the duty hotel clerk, Nestor "Josh" Estrada. The Daily Mail said yesterday that Mr Estrada was close to signing a $14 million agreement to drop charges against the actor and reject all media interviews in the future. "The security video is damning [if it entered the courtroom]," a source close to Crowe was quoted as saying. The source said a guilty finding would have a "near-fatal" effect on Crowe's career, preventing him from shooting movies in the US or undertaking publicity tours and attending awards such as the Oscars. Crowe last night delivered a motivational talk to his beloved South Sydney rugby league team, which scored a come-from-behind 29-16 win over Canberra.