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Disgraced AFL senior executives apologise

By Ben McKay, Ben McKay is a Roar Guru


66 Have your say

    The AFL has responded to the resignations of Simon Lethlean and Richard Simkiss.

    Related coverage

    Disgraced senior AFL executive Simon Lethlean says his “total focus” is on rebuilding the relationship with his family after his departure from the sport’s head office.v

    Previously seen as the No. 2 to AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, Lethlean apologised on Friday for a “inappropriate relationship” with a junior female AFL employee that led to his resignation.

    He held the position of AFL’s football operations manager since March.

    His indiscretion and departure – along with that of commercial operations general manager Richard Simkiss on similar grounds – have rocked the AFL.

    “My resignation follows a wrong decision I made to have an inappropriate relationship with a female employee of the AFL. It is an action for which I am truly sorry for the hurt I have caused,” said Lethlean in a statement issued by the AFL.

    “I have hurt the people who are most important in my life and who I love. They have done nothing to deserve this. I am deeply sorry for all the hurt and embarrassment I have caused.”

    Lethlean said he wouldn’t be able to rebuild his marriage if he continued in the job.

    “My priority now is to do everything I can to repair the damage and hurt I have caused my wife and my family and I cannot do this while working in this public role,” he said.

    “Regaining the trust and love of my wife and my family will be my total focus.”

    Simkiss also issued an apology via AFL statement.

    “I have taken responsibility for my actions at work, and ask for privacy to take the time to focus on earning back the respect of my family, to whom I owe everything,” Simkiss said.

    “My actions did not live up to the values of the AFL and is something I am truly sorry for.”

    Andrew Dillon, AFL general counsel, will act in Lethlean’s position until a full-time replacement is appointed.

    McLachlan said the new football chief was likely to come from outside head office.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (66)

    • July 14th 2017 @ 6:09pm
      Josh said | July 14th 2017 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

      Another day another scandal, is it any wonder Western Sydney wants nothing to do with AFL ?

    • July 14th 2017 @ 7:26pm
      George said | July 14th 2017 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

      Am I missing something here? As far as I read, no complain, no bulling, no sexual harassment just consenting adults having relationship. Unless it has affected work, it’s nobody’s business. Plenty of relationship started at work. I did not see involved females resign. Assuming somehow the involved females are innocent in these relationships?

      • July 14th 2017 @ 7:51pm
        Nineteen said | July 14th 2017 @ 7:51pm | ! Report

        JFK anyone? How about President Clinton? Lets not even start talking about the Europeans: Jacques Chirac and Berlusconi.

        All of these heads of state and others have been voted by their people into office multiple times despite their indiscretions.

        I’m not sure how the AFL thinks itself above these countries by taking some sort of moral high ground.

        The bottom line is this is about image and has nothing to do with Lethlean and Simkiss not able to do their jobs.

        • July 15th 2017 @ 10:14am
          mdso said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          OPTICS my friends OPTICS are everything. It s about being seen to be doing the right thing whatever that means? That is what this all about, it has nothing to do with gender in relationships. OPTICS and the BRAND.
          Above all else, these are most important. Have a good day.

      • July 14th 2017 @ 9:30pm
        Slane said | July 14th 2017 @ 9:30pm | ! Report

        Bosses aren’t allowed to shag their employees with impunity. Professors can’t shag their students with impunity. Doctors can’t shag their patients with impunity. It’s not a difficult concept.

        • Roar Guru

          July 15th 2017 @ 9:59am
          Paul D said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          Funny how some people struggle with this Slane

          George – McLachlan hasn’t spoken to the two ladies involved. He spoke to his execs, they admitted it and resigned.

          It’s nothing to do with image or vixens, it’s two senior employees who breached workplace standards with a sackable offence, and they resigned. End of story. You can’t go back in time and stop it happening, they didn’t cover it up. Two thumbs up for the handling of the situation.

      • July 14th 2017 @ 9:57pm
        Rich_daddy said | July 14th 2017 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

        This also crossed my mind, but I suspect there is more to this story than what has been disclosed publicly.

        • Roar Guru

          July 15th 2017 @ 9:59am
          Paul D said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          You want there to be more. There isn’t

      • July 15th 2017 @ 12:22pm
        mdso said | July 15th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        I am assuming George you are a male. Please forgive me if I am incorrect. I want to share something with
        you about gender inequality in the workforce. It still happens but you may not have experienced or witnessed
        it yet. Things are so much more in the open these days, it hardly ever happens now, right? Wrong.

        Imagine this…. the boss who suggested his female secretary to leave her shirt unbuttoned so he can look at
        her breasts. No harm in that harmless horse play, wrong. How about when he touches her up just for the
        hell of it. More friendly horse play? How about when he lets her know if no uncertain terms, if she doesn’t make herself more available or be more attentive to him – (comes with a wink and a look) she could lose her position. Never happen, wrong again. It happens more often than you realise. Has it happened to me? Yes it has. So should I feel flattered men find me attractive? Should I make myself less attractive so that they feel more comfortable around me?

        This behaviour is not about sexual attraction it is about power. And; fortunately, not all men think this way but
        some still do and make no secret of the fact, women are there for the taking. Think about how you would feel
        about this happening to your wife or partner, your sister or your daughter. She said No, but I know she fancies me
        so in the midst of game playing that’s really a yes. I don’t think so and its high time this past time for blokes stopped. Men must be made aware its up to them to ensure they do not play in blokey games because its gone way beyond a joke for many females.

        • Roar Guru

          July 15th 2017 @ 12:38pm
          Olivia Watts said | July 15th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

          MSDO, I was always grateful that I was never in business – I worked for a Government Instrumentality where promotion was based on merit and length of service – and was also plain faced enough that it was rare I ever got hit on. I can imagine the stresses young people of any gender could find themselves under these days and am glad to see those in power getting away with it less and less. I just wish we could somehow sell the news whilst avoiding the smutty slime our journalists are ostensibly complaining about in their articles being used as their sales points.

          I’d like to compliment the posters here on their rational, well reasoned and informative responses to this thread. I’ve been very impressed.

    • Roar Guru

      July 15th 2017 @ 9:08am
      Mick Gold Coast QLD said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      You have got to enjoy the fabulous irony of this most sanctimonious and politically correct of sports experiencing one two three senior executives compelled to resign for politically incorrect behaviour.

      Surely they must now respond to this most pressing of social justice issues (so that they may keep their hard won social licence) but how can they possibly squeeze into a busy 2018 a “Don’t screw the crew” Round? As George notes above there is also cause for the empowered ladies to rise up and demand an “I’ll bonk who I wish ‘n it’s none of your business, ya misogynists” Round!

      • July 15th 2017 @ 9:18am
        Don Freo said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        ” one two three senior executives…”

        I’ve always wanted to do that cross out thing. How do you do it?

        • July 15th 2017 @ 11:50am
          GJ said | July 15th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          Use a Word doc to write your comment and then “copy and paste” it into the box here for posting a comment

        • Roar Guru

          July 15th 2017 @ 12:02pm
          Paul D said | July 15th 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

          It’s a html tag Don.

          Hard to demonstrate it without it activating or disappearing but it’s basically (strike) your text here (/strike) but replace ( with the greater than/less than symbols on your keyboard. Should be the alt symbols on , and . on your keyboard. It won’t even let me write them solo without disappearing. Think of them as keyboard voldemorts

          results in this

          There should be an auto-formatter in the reply box too – bold, italics and strike. May not appear on a phone but it does on a PC. But you can just type it in too

        • Roar Guru

          July 15th 2017 @ 1:38pm
          Mick Gold Coast QLD said | July 15th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

          “How do you do it?”

          Don Freo: I use this when posting at The Roar:

          target text

          “target text” is just that, type it in to replace those two words. Then remove each of the two spaces from what you see on the page before you: e.g. after “”, after whatever you have typed to replace “target text” and so on.

          • Roar Guru

            July 15th 2017 @ 1:40pm
            Mick Gold Coast QLD said | July 15th 2017 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

            Grrr. That didn’t work.

            Don Freo: I use this when posting at The Roar:

            8target text8

            “target text” is just that, type it in to replace those two words. Then remove each of the 8’s from what you see on the page before you: e.g. after “”, after whatever you have typed to replace “target text” and so on.

            • Roar Guru

              July 15th 2017 @ 1:47pm
              Mick Gold Coast QLD said | July 15th 2017 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

              Grrr² !

              Type in one line with no spaces between:
              target text (this can have spaces between the words)

              • Roar Guru

                July 15th 2017 @ 1:49pm
                Paul D said | July 15th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

                Told you it was hard to demonstrate. The site simply will not display that symbol in isolation barring some bizarre formatting as you’ve worked out! Good job though, I admire your persistence! Hopefully Don appreciates your labours and we look forward to seeing strikethroughs through all the Freo players he’s axing

              • July 15th 2017 @ 10:36pm
                Don Freo said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

                It was going to involve -Margetts Stevic fair- …

                Every Freo game is nobbled by one of the two.

          • July 15th 2017 @ 2:27pm
            GJ said | July 15th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

            Yes – and “cut and paste” from word doesn’t seem to work

      • Roar Guru

        July 15th 2017 @ 9:57am
        Paul D said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        Or they could just demand the resignations of the two executive as soon as they became aware of it and move on, redoubled in their efforts. Oh wait, that’s exactly what they are doing

      • July 15th 2017 @ 10:20am
        GJ said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        Do “Guru’s” have raft of editing tools to enhance their posts that the average punter doesn’t have access to?

        • Roar Guru

          July 15th 2017 @ 1:51pm
          Mick Gold Coast QLD said | July 15th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

          They have a “Guru” induction weekend at Crowne Plaza, Terrigal once every 2 years, for the select few. If one fails the first one they must return at their own expense next year.

          It cost me a bloody fortune because I failed the subject “Strike Out text” two years running.

          • July 15th 2017 @ 2:28pm
            GJ said | July 15th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

            I’d love a trip to Terragal .. any idea when the next induction is due?

            • Roar Guru

              July 15th 2017 @ 2:35pm
              Mick Gold Coast QLD said | July 15th 2017 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

              First you need to be wealthy, secondly you must wait to be “called” in an almost religious sense – a Zavos appears unannounced at your front door with a Channel X news crew for whom you are expected to enunciate clearly.

              If you utter a single “Ummm” whilst being interviewed they turn on their heels as one and depart.

              Quite intimidating really.

              • July 15th 2017 @ 2:52pm
                GJ said | July 15th 2017 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

                I’ll start preparing immediately. A Zavos? I haven’t a lot of interest in union these days. Do you know who the AFL equivalent would be? Or is it a Zavos only affair?

              • Roar Guru

                July 15th 2017 @ 3:12pm
                Mick Gold Coast QLD said | July 15th 2017 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

                “Honorable Guru” gets thrust upon one by the Zavos family, not by the AFL. The sons of the estimable Spiro (Zac plus ?) founded The Roar and it is they who hand out the lollies around these parts. 🙂

                I couldn’t quite meet the “wealthy” pre-requisite so I turned briefly to a period of thieving until I had saved up enough.

              • July 15th 2017 @ 3:19pm
                GJ said | July 15th 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                Clearly I need to dig into this a little deeper. I appreciate your candid responses. And of course I understand now that the lollies being handed out are a reward that needs to be earned.

      • July 15th 2017 @ 10:22am
        GJ said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

        Based on your post I find it interesting that one of the young ladies involved turned out to be Kurtley Beale’s partner. The universe works in mysterious ways.

    • July 15th 2017 @ 9:46am
      Republican said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      ……….Elite sport has devolved gutter tabloid and that anyone supports it is a complete mystery to me……….

    • July 15th 2017 @ 10:03am
      Milo said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

      Affairs cannot be condoned as they usually end up causing hurt and misery to lots of people not just those involved. And yes they’ve been happening in workplaces for thousands of years and will continue to do so ad infinitum. You throw people together who spend a lot of time together and hey presto … an affair. Wow what a surprise. Eg a famous ‘WAG’ and a senior AFL employee. Oh my god, its clearly the end of the world. To paraphrase Bill Murray, whats next: “dogs and cats, living together?”

      That said, I don’t find the actions of the Melbourne gutter press (aka the herald sun) to be acceptable. Front page…?? Really?? Yeah nah, its none of our business frankly. I don’t see any allegations of bullying, blackmail, taking advantage of poor unsuspecting employees et al involved here. And for that idiot Robinson to get all sanctimonious about the whole thing… FFS!!!

    • Roar Pro

      July 15th 2017 @ 10:11am
      anon said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Very grubby when senior execs get involved sexually with young staff members. Massive power imbalance they are taking advantage of where she can’t say no unless she wants to irrevocably harm her career.