A rest would do Eddie the world of good
Did Eddie McGuire know about the Essendon supplements scandal before the story broke? (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham)
After his off the cuff remark on his radio show on Wednesday, Eddie McGuire has taken a pounding from the public and rightly so as it was in poor taste and especially poor timing.
McGuire had been responding to his on-air partner Luke Darcy’s comments that the hand coming out of Melbourne’s famous Eureka Tower would be a great promo for King Kong that they could get Adam Goodes for it
He had done so much to right the wrongs of last Friday when a 13-year-old Collingwood supporter called Goodes an “ape” late in the match against the Swans.
Goodes as we now know was shattered by that slur and left the ground before the siren. McGuire straight away made his way into Sydney’s rooms to chat with Goodes and apologise for what happened.
In a column I wrote on Monday, I outlined the importance of Eddie doing that as he had to protect his club’s image after doing so much during his 14-year reign as President to make the Magpies arguably the most professional club in the competition.
However, his radio remark has undone much of that goodwill, eventhough Goodes has accepted his apology.
There didn’t need to be an apology, because the remark shouldn’t have been made and Eddie realises that.
Understandably, he looked shattered and wrecked when fronting the media at a press conference that wasn’t his most convincing performance, and then later on the respected AFL 360 footy news program.
He appeared to have had enough, but knew as a high profile part of the footy media for the best part of 30 years, he had to face the medicine and take the heat.
Much of which came from one of his players at Collingwood, Harry O’Brien, who is half Brazilian and had asked to appear on AFL 360 with him.
Like all of us, O’Brien knows McGuire isn’t a racist and that it was a clumsy mistake, but there are no excuses and he is right.
McGuire has been around long enough in this industry to know what you can and can’t say when the microphone is on and the camera is rolling.
The Collingwood president, who has received the backing of his board to continue in the role has cited being tired for making the comment about Goodes and King Kong and that he was half-engaged in the conversation.
The tired excuse can’t wash and if you are only half listening or just partially involved in a topic, isn’t the key to say nothing, especially a delicate issue like that which has dominated the footy landscape for most of that week?
It’s not surprising the Collingwood board is in favour of him staying as president if he can, but can is the operative word as he will be and rightly so investigated by the AFL and dealt with as part of their racial vilification code.
He could be forced to stand down as president while that process occurs.
He said on his radio program on Triple M on Thursday after a gruelling and fascinating three hours that he had planned to cancel all commitments that day and go home.
That is probably the best thing he could do in what had become an horrific 24 hours for him. He has so much on his plate and not too many people live a life as full as McGuire’s, so maybe it’s time for a rest.
Unfortunately He can’t take that comment back and as he said he will accept his right whack for a stupid error, but as mentioned earlier he said being zoned out and tired played a part in him making the remark.
This might be a simple suggestion but by recharging the batteries not for a day but for a week or so or longer wouldn’t hurt.
Eddie no doubt is hurting and will for a long time. The Swans and Goodes as expected are furious with him and he understands that the whole footy fraternity is disappointed with him. Mind you!
It would be fair to say that no one is more disappointed than McGuire himself, although the mixed messages from the press conference has let him down somewhat.
We keep saying the action on the field has stepped up this year and it’s a fabulous season, but it keeps being overshadowed by controversies off the ground.
Eddie McGuire has broken thousands of football stories over the years and in recent times, the shoe has been on the other foot regarding his footy club being in the news for often the wrong reasons.
However, Wednesday was even foreign territory for him. He will recover, but maybe some time out of the spotlight if possible would aid the healing process.
Dan Lonergan is one Australia's most respected and versatile commentators. In more than 16 years on ABC Grandstand he has covered AFL footy (including four Grand Finals), cricket, tennis, and three Olympic Games, including London 2012 where he commentated 16 sports.