Now that the punishment has been handed down to both club and player, I feel I can finally discuss this whole, sorry saga from a fans perspective.
Both parties have been harmed by this.
Fans have been left feeling disillusioned and betrayed. Certain individuals have discovered that years of clean living and responsible practice can not always absolve you from one bad deed, and a player has been shown exactly what can happen you overreach.
And may they all provide an example.
This affair has resulted in the Adelaide Crows having to pay a $300,000 fine and being blocked from the first two rounds of next years draft. Tippett will miss half of 2013 and all of the NAB cup, as well as receiving a $50,000 fine.
The flow on effect of this decision has also been felt across the league, with clubs making sure their houses are in order. Thankfully the only potential scandals to emerge have been Chris Judd’s deal with VISY ending, and the Blues superstar being investigated in possible salary cap breaches through the sale of memorabilia.
It now looks, however, like the storm has finally ended. Tippett and the Crows have finally parted ways, the ruck-forward looking to the pre-season draft, and both parties can look to rebuild and salvage what they can from the mess.
As a fan, Friday’s decision was perhaps the best of a series of bad outcomes for the club. Though severe, the fine and sanctions are not unfair considering previous punishments for salary cap breaches.
Recent examples, such as those handed out to the Melbourne Storm, Canterbury Bulldogs and Carlton Blues, were very fresh in my mind as I’m sure they were for most Crows supporters. To have to pay back a fine of $300k is not impossible for a strong club like Adelaide, especially considering major sponsors such Toyota and Balfours look set to maintain their partnership with the club.
Even the draft sanctions, similar to those which crippled Carlton under John Elliott, may not harm the Crows as much as feared. The current squad list is littered not only with current young stars and future superstars, but some genuine talent taken late in previous drafts.
Even this year, despite abstaining willingly from the first two rounds, the Crows were still able to cover some needs by selecting a tall defender in Tasmanian Sam Siggins and midfielder Rory Aitkins.
The taking of potential top five pick Brad Crouch from the GWS mini draft last year also puts the Crows in a much stronger place than the Blues of 2002, whose salary cap routing was discovered at a time when the several experienced players had left the club and the Blues were already sitting at the bottom of the ladder.
Perhaps from a club perspective, the worst outcome from the trial has to be the suspension of CEO Steven Trigg. Often rated among the best in the business for his management of one of the league’s biggest and most successful clubs off-field, Trigg was an extremely popular figure among fans. This ordeal should now surely see the end of his career.
As for Tippett, a half year out of the game and a $50k fine is the least of his worries. The man’s name, whether fairly or not, is now just as muddied as his former club’s.
His salary and time as an unavailable player would also surely worry potential suitors. Despite this, the admission of the GWS Giants that they may be questioning his worth, may still see Tippett make it to the Swans.
Lucky for him, his 11 game ban means he will just miss a return to AAMI stadium in 2013, with the Swans and Crows set to meet in round 11.
It would be easy for me to express my pleasure at seeing Tippett punished equally with the club, it would simply be sour-grapes to do so. So I will say that Friday the 30 of November should be remembered by the Crows and fans, to never be seduced by a player’s potential, and to never, ever overpay any one player again.