McGuire and Jurrah show AFL’s conflict of interest

DysonBaker Roar Rookie

50 Have your say

    President of the Collingwood football Club Eddie Mcguire and President of St Kilda Football Club Greg Westaway. AAP Image/Joe Castro

    Related coverage

    With more and more ex-AFL stars hitting our television screens, radio dials and newspapers, the lengths that some people in the football community will go to protect a mate seems to also grow.

    AFL footballers and journalists can apparently pick and choose what stories go to print, with consideration of friendships and allegiances placed before that of breaking exclusives.

    Only the other night I found myself glued to the television as host of Fox Footy’s EMT, Eddie McGuire, gave Melbourne young gun Liam Jurrah a chance to tell his side of his story. The interview was in Jurrah’s home, where he sat alongside his mother and grandmother, who are currently supporting him through his pending court proceedings.

    As a football community we know that McGuire has always been received as the man who can work around the red tape. On this occasion he arranged the interview with Jurrah on the weekend, with Jurrah’s club having no knowledge of it. Needless to say the interview was harmless but it begs the question, where is the line between club allegiance and journalism drawn?

    With more and more people in football wearing more than one hat, it is inevitable that at some stage players, administrators and reporters will be faced with a conflict of interest. It is how that situation is dealt with which is the key.

    For McGuire the journo, the Jurrah interview was an exclusive piece on the developing story of the week. But for McGuire the Collingwood president, the interview should have at least followed proper practice in that the contact should have been made with the Melbourne media department in order to make the Demons aware of the interview taking place.

    Kevin Bartlett, host of Hungry for Sport on SEN, had McGuire on his show to give him the chance to better explain the situation and to deny the conflict of interest. Ironically, Bartlett has one of those himself, being a member of the AFL laws of the game committee.

    Bartlett hosts the mid-morning show in which he takes many calls across the week regarding the AFL rules and circumstances of the weekend’s games.

    A biased viewer on just one aspect of football, the former Tigers captain and coach is well rounded when it comes to his views on football. But he needs to see the other side of the fence when it comes to the rules of the game.

    It is clear that the need to protect positions within football is becoming increasingly important; for many media commentators who hold various other positions with the league or its clubs, it is hard to draw the line between head and heart.

    For McGuire, who has tackled being the Collingwood president and has been a major player in Melbourne’s football media for over 10 years, he seems to find a way to combat the stigma attached to each one of his stories – that he is soft on his own club and won’t push a Collingwood story that would be seen to be hurting his position.

    The same goes for anyone in football, but it’s exactly what needs to happen within the sport; some honesty around stories that are put to air about a friend, a teammate, or even a supported team.

    Honesty has been thrown out the window in football media in the last few years and needs to make its way back in order to ensure fans and supporters of the game are getting the full story, not just the slice that a particular journalist wants you to see.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (50)

    • March 14th 2012 @ 2:41am
      AndyMack said | March 14th 2012 @ 2:41am | ! Report

      There are plenty of journo’s and people in the media more than willing to take a shot at any story on Collingwood (they are lined up around the block most of the time) so not sure that Eddie being “soft on his own club and not pushing a Collingwood story” really matters.

      If Eddie was the only person in the media (sometimes it may seem like he is, but he isn’t!!) then it would be a problem.

      And you cannot blame Eddie for the scoop with Jurrah. Every journo would love to be able to get direct access to all players, the clubs try to control the situation a bit (very understandable), if a journo slips through, good on them. The club needs to reinforce the rules with its players ie: dont talk to the media unless we give the OK.

      • March 14th 2012 @ 9:37am
        Australian Rules said | March 14th 2012 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        I disagree AM.

        Ed is fiercely protective of everything Collingwood (as is his perogative as President), yet he becomes a mere ‘journo’ again whenever there’s a story which concerns another club. He has been appallingly inconsistent in this regard

        (One example…Eddie publicly chastising a St Kilda fan at a game last year for having a go at Andrew Krakouer…then inferring later in the media that there were racial overtones to the fan’s comments…a complete falsehood. This, coming from the President of Collingwood…whose fans have a shocking track record for abusing opposition players…chanting ‘rapist’ at Milne, abusing Nic Nat last year, even their coach against Milne…and famously, Nicky Winmar) How disingenuous can Eddie be?

        Eddie has been great for footy and many clubs would be envious of the Pies for having him…but what makes Eddie different is that he flips between being a ‘journo’ and a President too often. That, couple with his immense media power, creates an obvious conflict of interest.
        The fact is, he would never expose his players to any risk of a story like he did with Jurrah.

        For Ed, it’s one rule for Collingwood, another rule for everybody else. That’s fine as President, but not when you’re a ‘journo’.

        • March 14th 2012 @ 10:41am
          TomC said | March 14th 2012 @ 10:41am | ! Report

          Absolutely AR.

          Let’s also bear in mind that just weeks ago McGuire, as president, was threatening to ‘retaliate with all guns blazing’ if the Demons continued to offer senior jobs to Collingwood assistant staff. And now, in his role as a journalist, he is happily circumventing Melbourne’s media rules (which he must be familiar with), with the potential to seriously damage the club if Jurrah was to say something negative.

          Is this a shot across the bow? How can we be sure it isn’t?

          • March 14th 2012 @ 11:51am
            Australian Rules said | March 14th 2012 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            It wouldn’t surprise me Tom.

            The sensitivity surrounding the Jurrah story makes Ed’s actions all the more culpable. He’d be threatening legal action if Liam played for the Pies.

          • March 14th 2012 @ 10:48pm
            AndyMack said | March 14th 2012 @ 10:48pm | ! Report

            Sorry, if you are a journo, the aim is to get the story. If every journo respected the “media rules” in place, whether in sport, politics or anything, how would they uncover any story thats been covered up!!? If Melbourne’s media rules have been violated, they have been violated by the player. It’s like blaming the journos for Watergate.

            I still stand by the fact that if Eddie doesn’t carry a story that shows the Pies in a negative light, there are 100 others more than willing to pick up on it. Since when did Eddie become the only journo in town??

            All people involved in footy have an allegience somewhere. Most people are able to filter this out, whether its Bartlett talking, or Eddie, or Kennett or whoever.

            • March 15th 2012 @ 10:06am
              Australian Rules said | March 15th 2012 @ 10:06am | ! Report

              Andy, there was no “story being covered up”…this case involved a very serious and very sensitive set of issues that has absolutely nothing to do with footy.

              And Eddie a journo..? Please. He stopped being a “journo” a long time ago.

              The fact is, when you have as much power as Eddie has, you can’t ‘swap hats’ that easliy. Two weeks ago, as President, he threatened to take away Melbourne’s home ground Queen’s Birthday game (as if he could).

              Here are some other Eddie quotes (from 25/02/12):

              “I’ll give Melbourne a nice heads-up – keep going after my players and I’ll knock off all your sponsors,” he said on Triple M. “And not only that, I’ll go to the AFL and say they’ve obviously got too much because they’re paying over the odds, so stop giving them money. That’s the way I roll on these things.”

              Are they the words of a simple “journo”?

          • March 15th 2012 @ 2:21am
            amazonfan said | March 15th 2012 @ 2:21am | ! Report

            He acted like a typical bully. Ed has done some great things but he also has an ugly side, as his bullying of Melbourne shows.

    • March 14th 2012 @ 6:09am
      ManInBlack said | March 14th 2012 @ 6:09am | ! Report

      agreed with AndyMack. It’s bigger than Eddie and has been for sometime.

    • March 14th 2012 @ 7:26am
      p.Tah said | March 14th 2012 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      Genuine question, can anyone tell me why Jurrah is still training with Melbourne despite being charged?

      …and then I noticed Bernie Vince from the Crows is being discipline for the heinous crime of wearing boxer shorts in a pub

      • March 14th 2012 @ 9:15am
        stabpass said | March 14th 2012 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        Thats a very good question …… what colour were his boxing shorts ?.

        The Jurrah situation is just so much bigger than anything to do with football, maybe its best for the kid, to keep training, his isolated community and the AFL football world he is in are just polar opposites.

        • March 15th 2012 @ 1:06pm
          p.Tah said | March 15th 2012 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

          I think they were Port Adelaide colours. Perhaps that’s the issue πŸ™‚

      • March 14th 2012 @ 9:33am
        Matt F said | March 14th 2012 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        I’d imagine that it has something to do with the whole innocent until proven guilty thing…..

      • March 14th 2012 @ 10:52am
        TomC said | March 14th 2012 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        Definitely better for all concerned that he can continue to train with his employer, rather than sit around stewing all day.

        • March 14th 2012 @ 1:49pm
          p.Tah said | March 14th 2012 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

          If that’s the case then this kind of leniency must be shown to all players who are in trouble with the law.

          • March 14th 2012 @ 2:38pm
            TomC said | March 14th 2012 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

            No it shouldn’t.

            In each instance a decision must be made on what’s in everyone’s interests.

            Treating players fairly isn’t always the same as treating players equally.

            • March 14th 2012 @ 5:08pm
              stabpass said | March 14th 2012 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

              @Tom, good post, guess thats what i was trying to say.

            • March 14th 2012 @ 7:28pm
              p.Tah said | March 14th 2012 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

              Fair enough. What is interesting is that there are quite a few articles on this topic on the roar, but none of them have any posts.

              • March 14th 2012 @ 11:01pm
                stabpass said | March 14th 2012 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

                Yes, that is true, my take is, that this is above football, this is a matter of life and death, not some footballers shagging their teammates missus, or defacating in a hotel hallway, it is a extremely complex cultural issue.

                Its a credit to the posters on this site that the normal suspects from the other codes respectfully stayed out of this one and did not add their point scoring negative jibes.

            • March 14th 2012 @ 10:54pm
              amazonfan said | March 14th 2012 @ 10:54pm | ! Report

              Great post πŸ˜€ I couldn’t agree more.

    • March 14th 2012 @ 9:20am
      Boomshanka said | March 14th 2012 @ 9:20am | ! Report

      From the conversion of Olympic park to a Collingwood training ground, to the hoarding of rugby league in Melbourne by Channel Nine, this guy is hopelessly compromised and leaves a trail of interest conflicts. This is just one of those.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2012 @ 10:38am
        Redb said | March 14th 2012 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        If the latter is correct McGuire should be applauded.

        • March 14th 2012 @ 8:23pm
          Boomshanka said | March 14th 2012 @ 8:23pm | ! Report

          The latter is correct and he should be locked up, along with his Lawyer mate Jeff Browne.

          Four Corners nearly had these two ten years ago.

          • March 14th 2012 @ 10:51pm
            stabpass said | March 14th 2012 @ 10:51pm | ! Report

            Your continuing interest in Australian Football is heart warming.

      • March 15th 2012 @ 7:29am
        Lucan said | March 15th 2012 @ 7:29am | ! Report

        Opting himself onto the board of Athletics Australia and overseeing both the shift of Athletics to Lakeside AND the Collingwood takeover of the Oly Park facility is the biggest conflict of interest we’ve seen from McGuire.

        Why isn’t more of a deal made about this?

        • March 15th 2012 @ 10:00am
          stabpass said | March 15th 2012 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          Is it still a conflict of interest, when everyone is a winner …. just saying ….

        • March 15th 2012 @ 10:09am
          Australian Rules said | March 15th 2012 @ 10:09am | ! Report

          Lucan, in fairness, Athletics Australia have repeatedly come out and said that they could never afford to stay at OIlympic Park due to the rent…they knew the move was coming and it was long over-due (their words). They accepted the subsidy from the government to do it.

          • March 15th 2012 @ 3:37pm
            Boomshanka said | March 15th 2012 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

            And who happened to be on the board of Athletics Australia at the time?

            • March 15th 2012 @ 6:29pm
              Australian Rules said | March 15th 2012 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

              Yes Boom, obviously Eddie was.

              But other people from the AA board and management have clarified this issue repeatedly (I think you’ll see from my posts above that I am no Eddie apologist).

              Considering the Oympic Park area is now shared by Collingwood, Storm, Rebels, Victory and Heart…do you really think Athletics Australia could have afforded to match the leasing dollars put up by the clubs above for such a prime location?

    • March 14th 2012 @ 9:30am
      BigAl said | March 14th 2012 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      This story in todays Age pretty much says it all re. Eddie Mcguire’s position in all this. . .

      I wish I’d been able to listen to the SEN broadcast mentioned – sounds like some really good questions were put ot Eddie by Patrick Smith and Kevin Bartlett.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2012 @ 10:45am
        Redb said | March 14th 2012 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        I did Big Al, and Patrick Smith is a obnoxious prat.

        • March 14th 2012 @ 3:50pm
          BigAl said | March 14th 2012 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

          If that means someone who asks difficult questions of those in accountable authority, particularly the ones who set themselves up on a pedestal, we are in agreement Red.

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2012 @ 4:46pm
            Redb said | March 14th 2012 @ 4:46pm | ! Report


            You know who I support and it aint Collingwood, but I think Patrick Smith knew he had McGuire on a techinality and was more intent on getting him to admit he would not like it if the roles were reversed. My read is that of course McGuire would not like it, no President would and especially big mouth Ed, but it was worth the angst to get the Jurrah interview. I dont think McGuire wanted to give that pompous tosser in Patrick Smith the pleasure of a win.

            If your journo Eddie McGuire you would go for it and he did. If McGuire and had made Jurrah to look a fool or rubbished the MFC there would be rightful recriminations. The opposite was true and in fact it probably helped them both.

            I for one miss McGuire in the footy news business, he was the best, putting up with the pretend HUGE breaking news of Hutchy & Damien Barrett over the years is too much.

        • March 14th 2012 @ 4:26pm
          BigAl said | March 14th 2012 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

          Thanks to the info provided by Walt below, I have just listened to the SEN broadcast !

          Incredible !! – Mcguire comes across like another Clive Palmer – trying to control the whole process by barely pausing for a breath – talking over everyone and playing the victim card…

          And, at the very begining he started pratling on about his new show without anyone trying to reign him in and get him back to the point of the “interview” – I honestly thought I had clicked on to the wrong Audio clip

          • March 15th 2012 @ 10:01am
            BigAl said | March 15th 2012 @ 10:01am | ! Report

            A late addendum to all this – Patrick Smith just doesn’t have a great radio voice/personna.

            Just does not come across as inciteful and authoritative as he does in print

      • March 14th 2012 @ 12:00pm
        Walt said | March 14th 2012 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

        Listened to the interview yesterday (it is available on the SEN website) and according to Eddie, Cameron Schwab was fully aware that the interview would go ahead and gave his blessing. Eddie did not, however go through the proper channels and basically poo-pooed the fact that he didnt. This means from now on, anybody is allowed to approach Collingwood players without the club’s official permission because Eddie has set the precedent and doesnt believe in the agreement of the clubs. Patrick Smith marauded Eddie and the Collingwood president worked himself into a corner and found himself unable to justify his actions. His double-chin was audible as it quivered in disbelief that anyone should question him. Eddie knows he did the wrong thing but the AFL being what it is, lying is the lingua franca and nobody with half a brain got lost in translation.

        • March 14th 2012 @ 1:22pm
          DysonBaker said | March 14th 2012 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

          Schwab was aware of Eddie’s interest in the Jurrah matter and asked for the chance to be able to get some vision of him so they could talk about it on the show, to which Schwab basically told him to join the media scrum outside his house, after that Jurrah and his family invited Mcguire into the house for a chat (Jurrah was originally brought to Melbourne by the Magpies) Mcguire accepted and was tailed in by a media crew.

          There was no contact regarding an interview with Jurrah between Fox Footy and the Melbourne Media department which begs the question how is it that Mcguire could go round club procedure which under his own clubs laws is completly against the media protocol that Collingwood have.

          • March 14th 2012 @ 1:41pm
            Walt said | March 14th 2012 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

            He went around the club procedures and it might come back to bite him on the butt in the future.

        • March 15th 2012 @ 1:16am
          AndyMack said | March 15th 2012 @ 1:16am | ! Report

          Anyone is allowed to approach Collingwood players and ask for interviews. The correct response that all AFL players are taught is “sorry, you have to go through the club”. Not sure why the journo is at fault. I guess its because it is Eddie!!!!

    • March 14th 2012 @ 9:41am
      Pillock said | March 14th 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      The hypocrisy in AFL is rife, sponsorship by gambling yet bans players from gambling, or at least the ones that are stupid enough to get caught and of course the media connections as outlined above. The football world has never and will never be pure and we have to accept that. The fact the AFL and media defend it and say it does not exist is insulting to the intelligence of the average joe.
      In the interests of balanced journalism why not interview the bloke who got chopped by the machete? As if that’s going to happen.

    , , , , ,