AFL community reaches out to support James Hird

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    AFL figures have shown support for James Hird amid reports the former Essendon coach is in a mental health facility recovering from a suspected overdose.

    Former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett, chair of mental health group Beyond Blue, said it appeared Hird needed help.

    “Assuming these stories have a basis of fact, this is a cry for help by an individual and I hope that he will get that help,” Kennett told SEN radio on Friday.

    Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley did not reference Hird directly but took to Twitter to urge the public against personally attacking sportspeople.

    “The presumption that people who play sport well are bullet proof allows personal attacks hidden behind ‘public interest’,” Buckley tweeted.

    “Keep us honest and critically analyse professional efforts but allow clubs to manage and support people in their brilliance and foibles.”

    Former North Melbourne player Wayne Schwass, a mental health campaigner, slammed media coverage as insensitive, particularly news outlets stationed outside Hird’s Melbourne home.

    “Irrespective of what side you sit w/ Ess saga, health & wellbeing of a person should override everything. Were talking about someone’s life,” he tweeted.

    “Shows total lack of understanding of the seriousness of MH issues & sensitive required when reporting them.”

    The 43-year-old Hird was taken to Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne’s south after an “intentional poisoning overdose”, the Seven Network reported.

    Hird left the hospital on Thursday and the Herald Sun reported he was transferred to a mental health centre where he was still receiving care.

    Hird resigned as Essendon coach in August 2015 with his reputation irreparably damaged by the club’s supplements saga.

    His tenure as coach was thrown into turmoil by the 2012 supplements program and subsequent Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation, which led to 34 past and present Bombers being banned for the 2016 season.

    Before the supplements saga, Hird had been one of Windy Hill’s most-treasured sons, playing 253 games for Essendon and winning the Brownlow Medal in 1996.

    Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

    MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (38)

    • January 6th 2017 @ 11:55am
      Leonard said | January 6th 2017 @ 11:55am | ! Report

      Very very unsure that the “health & wellbeing of a person should override everything” in all (or most) such cases, particularly if the person in question is sole indispensable factor in creating a situation. It may be a case of that old saying about people having to lie in the beds which they made for themselves.

      This case may be different in ‘degree’, but is it any different in ‘kind’ to so many legal cases where mis-placed empathy for the perp seems to “override” genuine sympathy for the victim/s?

      IMHO, I don’t reckon the AFL community ‘owes’ Hird anything beyond the usual generalities.

    • Roar Guru

      January 6th 2017 @ 12:48pm
      Paul D said | January 6th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

      Hird has a wife and 4 kids and he wanted to kill himself and leave them all to pick up the pieces.

      That’s selfish even by your standards James

      • January 6th 2017 @ 1:07pm
        andyl12 said | January 6th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

        I’m sorry Paul D, but as much as I’ve been a big Hird critic over the years and agree that he dug a massive hole for himself, society has moved on from the days when suicide was seen as a selfish way out. Mental health can affect anyone these days, and how much its patients suffer depends largely on the attitudes of those around them. Believe me, I’ve seen it in my family and friendship circles.

        All I do hope is, given the money Hird has spent on legal bills since February 2013, that he also employed a psychological counsellor through that time as he must’ve known things wouldn’t be easy. Something tells me he didn’t, but at least now he’ll get the treatment he needs before it’s too late.

      • Roar Guru

        January 6th 2017 @ 1:18pm
        TomC said | January 6th 2017 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

        That’s awful, Paul.

        • January 6th 2017 @ 11:07pm
          Don Freo said | January 6th 2017 @ 11:07pm | ! Report

          That’s just who Paul is.

      • January 6th 2017 @ 1:38pm
        Pope Paul VII said | January 6th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

        People in this predicament genuinely believe that they and everyone else would be better off without them. They are unable to think about the future and impact.

      • Roar Guru

        January 6th 2017 @ 1:55pm
        AdelaideDocker said | January 6th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

        I’m sorry Paul, but that’s utterly crap.

        I can’t believe you even comtemplated saying that.

        • Roar Guru

          January 6th 2017 @ 2:20pm
          Paul D said | January 6th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

          Hey, it’s AD – the Roar’s answer to a question nobody asked

          I think Hird is selfish. He made EFC foot his legal bills for years and kept challenging decisions in court even when EFC had decided enough was more than enough. He refused to take the hit to his reputation by taking the plea deal despite everyone in AFL house and most likely ASADA leaning on him to do it. He had to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the coaching box despite all the evidence mounting that he had totally lost the players. There are plenty of other examples I could cite.

          And now he’s gone off and dabbled in drugs of some sort, illicit or otherwise, and deliberately or accidentally put his life in jeopardy. No doubt it will emerge he’s depressed that he’s never able to be involved in footy again. Or something. But here is a man who still has a comfortable life, a wife, 4 kids and still it’s not enough for King James, no, he can’t be happy unless he has everything he ever wanted.

          So no, I don’t think that much of him, and I hope that he gets a solid kick up the ass from his family for what he’s put them through – yet again.

          • Roar Guru

            January 6th 2017 @ 4:18pm
            AdelaideDocker said | January 6th 2017 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

            Yikes. Since when did this turn into a personal attack on me?

            I don’t think much of the man either, and I can certainly see why people like you can consider him to be selfish. But attempted suicide isn’t something that can be broken down into a cheap and nasty insult like yours.

            He deserves – as much as any one who’s been in a vulnerable position like he is right now – the proper help. It doesn’t matter how an individual has found themselves in a position where they feel the need to take their own life; what matters is that they get the help and support they need.

            It’s easy to type crap like that from behind a keyboard. I get that. But sometimes you’ve gotta realise that it benefits exactly no one.

            • Roar Guru

              January 6th 2017 @ 5:44pm
              Paul D said | January 6th 2017 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

              Since you did a Lisa Simpson and butted in

              I really don’t know what you’re so upset about. I called him selfish. He is. I certainly don’t wish him harm though, in fact I want him to live for decades so he understands the full ramifications of what he did to Essendon and the players who trusted him – and takes responsibility for it. He’s not allowed to get off the hook like this.

              Sure it was worded abruptly but I like throwing rocks in ponds sometimes. Otherwise it’s just all the frogs croaking the same tune and that’s boring.

              • Roar Guru

                January 6th 2017 @ 5:55pm
                AdelaideDocker said | January 6th 2017 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

                Hahaha, nice work on that Simpsons reference. I definitely didn’t put two and two together when it came to the reference. I wasn’t the only one to but in, though?

                Calling him selfish in regards to his actions with Essendon I am totally okay with. Because it’s true.
                Calling him selfish in regards to a suicide attempt is where you’ve crossed the line in my opinion, By a long way.

                I’m not meaning to hate on you, Paul. And perhaps your comments hit a little close to home from my perspective. But I didn’t like them, and that’s that.

              • January 6th 2017 @ 6:04pm
                andyl12 said | January 6th 2017 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

                Perhaps Paul D grew up in a different generation when seeing suicide as selfish was a social norm. I am 36 (how old are you Paul?) and I find that males over 50 often disagree with me on this. I also know that the average age of males who commit suicide has gotten older over the years.

                In many ways it is still hard for a male to talk about their problems with other males. But we do seem to be slowly moving away from the “just deal with it” attitude of generations past.

              • Roar Guru

                January 6th 2017 @ 6:14pm
                TomC said | January 6th 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

                You know, I honestly expected Paul would recognise he’d gone too far, and walk his comments back.

              • Roar Guru

                January 6th 2017 @ 6:45pm
                AdelaideDocker said | January 6th 2017 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

                Tom, I expected the same. I guess some people can always find ways to surprise.

              • January 9th 2017 @ 7:46am
                Milo said | January 9th 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

                What gets me about all this is the smug ambulance chasing Amendola coming out and blaming it all on the AFL:
                QUOTE: They (AFL) have relentlessly trashed his reputation and misrepresented the facts and the context, I hope they are satisfied now but it should hardly be surprising — even for someone with mental health as strong as James’s — that this has happened. They have to bear some responsibility for it. From what I have observed over the past number of years, it seems that you can glass your partner, you can sleep with your best friend’s wife and the path to forgiveness will always be open in AFL land — but if your name is James Hird that path will be blocked. UNQUOTE

                So according to Amendola, the AFL condones glassing partners and players sleeping with their mates’ wives?? Of course thats football related so both those players should’ve been suspended by the AFL in his opinion? But surely the AFL couldn’t possibly have had the temerity to investigate and punish EFC and Hird for doping? No doubt Amendola is lining up a civil case against the AFL right now, otherwise his words mean nothing.

                Its so-called supporters like this that reignite feelings against Hird and Amendola would be best advised to shut his mouth for the sake of his ex client.

              • January 9th 2017 @ 10:13am
                Leonard said | January 9th 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

                Milo, agree with your set of priorities, but the guy is a ‘defence’ lawyer charged with putting the best / least worst slant on Hird’s actions and /or inaction. Most of Amendola’s points need scores of grains of salt.

                One of my favourite books is “The Joys of Yiddish” (google it), a dictionary-type explanation of the many words from that language which have entered the English language, including ‘chutzpah’ (‘ch’ like ‘h’, but ten times as vigorous like you’ve got something stuck in your throat, and the first syllable rhymes with the ‘foots’ in Footscray), which (like most other entries) is illustrated by a little story about a boy who, convicted of murdering his parents, had the ‘chutzpah’ to throw himself on the mercy of the court on account of being an orphan! Seems to be a little bit of that in Amendola’s case.

              • Roar Guru

                January 11th 2017 @ 3:19pm
                Paul D said | January 11th 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                I was originally going to ignore all this feigned outrage but what the hell. In for a penny, in for a pound. Seems to be going on and on, particularly since now Hird’s dad has weighed into proceedings – at least James comes by his desire to court controversy and be the centre of attention honestly…

                This won’t come as a surprise to anyone but I don’t have a lot of time for James Hird. Obviously I don’t know him but I’ve watched a lot of him on TV, particularly that haughty, dishonest interview he gave to Whateley on AFL 360, amongst other things he has said and done. From what I have seen & heard he’s another Kevin Rudd. All about him, always about him, and he doesn’t give a damn who he crushes or steps on, on his way up or coming back down. Look at how he treated David Evans and how cutthroat he was with getting him out of his way once it became clear it was Evans or him. Forced Evans to a mental breakdown in the clubrooms and a sudden resignation after their falling out. He broke ranks with the club, tried to get them to foot his legal bills in a pointless ego-driven personal crusade and dragged out EFC’s torment for years longer than it ever needed to be, for players, fans and administrators because he couldn’t handle admitting he’d made a mistake.

                He is still yet to tell the full truth of what happened. He can sip from as many cans of weedkiller as he wants, but until he makes a full mea culpa and apologises he will never get forgiveness in this country, but equally he would be amazed in how few months people would overlook his crimes if he was genuinely repentant and apologetic. Good luck setting aside his monstrous ego long enough for that to happen though.

                So while it’s sad what has happened to Hird don’t expect me to shed a tear or feel any sort of sympathy for him, because guaranteed he doesn’t give a toss about anyone who can’t help him or advance his career.

    • January 6th 2017 @ 1:25pm
      Brian said | January 6th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

      All Hird had to do was in 2013 just admit fault in a general sense resign and get on with the rest of a comfortable life.
      Part of life is knowing how to lose.

      • January 11th 2017 @ 2:30pm
        Jacko said | January 11th 2017 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

        Hindsite is wonderful. I cant help thinking that those who say he should have dropped out of the fight are the same people praising a player for showing tenacity and never giving up. NEVER GIVE UP is a trait we hold dear in our teams players but dont dare do that in other aspects of life…hypocracy

    • January 6th 2017 @ 1:26pm
      Milo said | January 6th 2017 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

      Do we really know what happened? Was it really a suicide attempt or was it an accidental overdose of legal or illegal drugs? Maybe we’ll never know and that’s fine. Pretty hard to opine either way Id reckon but in any event, while I don’t like what the guy did in 2012 with Essendon and his public behaviour thereafter, I don’t think any of the football community including supporters really wish him or his family ill will.

    • January 6th 2017 @ 1:49pm
      Rick Diznek said | January 6th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

      Count on never knowing. The AFL carpet had a bump in it the size of Everest

    • January 6th 2017 @ 2:41pm
      Mike from tari said | January 6th 2017 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

      Actually do feel sorry for Hird as my son has had a couple of friends who play league commit suicide, but in this case the AFL should look after him because they had the chance to nip the peptides in bud but dragged the whole thing on for years.

      • January 6th 2017 @ 3:08pm
        Milo said | January 6th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

        Not an AFL supporter Mike? Yep it was definitely the AFL’s fault. There’s not much you cant blame on them, the government or your partner. Truth is Esserdon and Hird especially were primarily responsible for dragging it on for years but hey, don’t let that stand in the way of a good ol crack at the softest target in the game. Are we really shifting the blame for Hird’s health problems onto the AFL FFS?
        Anyhow, lets move on from that and hope that Hird is ok.

        • January 6th 2017 @ 3:56pm
          Leonard said | January 6th 2017 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

          I’m with Milo here in his dissing the ‘Blame the AFL’ mentality – and reckon that Mike-from-Tari has conflated two matters. The first is Hird / Dank / Robinson doing their secretive and dodgy ‘thing’ (with the EFC’s ‘good doctor’ turning what looks like a blind eye) during season 2012. The second is the subsequent long drawn out legal processes (as many such processes are; ‘Bleak House’ meets ASADA / WADA / CoAfS) which began with the EFC’s ‘self-reporting’ its suspicions of its own employees in February 2013, and concluded with the 34 players suspensions ending in November 2016.

          IMHO, coach / ex-coach Hird has never fully accepted prime and core responsibility for the peptides (or whatever) being give to the 34 Essendon players in 2012; every ‘confession’ has been an admission-lite, with stuff like “the protocols we established were apparently not being followed” (in today’s Herald Sun). The buck for what happened behind closed doors is still firmly cemented on Hird’s former desk; he needs to summon up his inner Harry S Truman.

          As rotten old Iago said in ‘Othello’, “Who steals my purse^ steals trash . . . but who filches from me my good name makes me poor indeed” – and Hird was the ‘Who’ that filched his own good name.

          ^ ‘Purse’ in its original sense of a (hand) bag, not a lady’s little wallety thing, and in the way it is still used in the US, with their ancestors’ meaning, and not with the British evolved meaning. Also, for holding stuff a ship’s purser looks after.

          • January 6th 2017 @ 7:30pm
            I hate pies said | January 6th 2017 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

            In my honest opinion (just write the whole words, it doesn’t take that long) I think Hird was trying to clear the players names with his dragging on of the case, and I think he thinks that they’re innocent in all of this.

            • January 9th 2017 @ 1:40am
              dave said | January 9th 2017 @ 1:40am | ! Report

              CUW(can’t understand why) PDHT(people don’t have time) 2W4W(to write four words).
              I can understand on the old phones when texting.
              I actually spend more time wondering why people wouldn’t just use the words than it would take to type them.
              Anyway thats just IMHO.

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