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Opinion

Media bullying of Jordan De Goey has been a disgusting witch-hunt

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Expert
21st June, 2022
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Jordan De Goey has a $25,000 fine as well as the end of his career hanging over his head for no other reason than a salacious and nefarious media baying for his blood. It has been a disgusting witch-hunt.

Collingwood had a chance to show leadership by backing their player, but of course they cowered to media (not public) opinion by slapping him with the suspended fine.

In the off-season between the 2015 and 2016 season Dustin Martin was accused of threatening a woman with chopsticks. The media hysteria was at a level similar to what we have seen in recent days about De Goey’s holiday in Bali.

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In the Martin incident, every media head in town was lining up to whack him. Many wanted him slapped with gigantic fines and sacked from Richmond and the AFL.

Martin admitted to being intoxicated, disruptive, argumentative and indulging in obscene language. He apologised for his behaviour, which was accepted by the complainant and alleged victim. Victoria Police dropped its investigation after the woman opted against making a formal statement, having determined no criminal wrongdoing had taken place.

Richmond were attacked for not taking strong action against Martin before any evidence had been gathered. The most experienced sports journalists in the country lined up the club in their crosshairs, appalled at what they perceived as a lack of leadership.

Yet the Richmond executive showed the strongest leadership of all just by being patient. By waiting for professionals to do their job. By not reacting early simply to sate a bloodthirsty media and over-zealous moral police.

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It’s a shame Collingwood hasn’t done the same. But they have their own historical mistakes they are trying to over-correct for.

What has Jordan De Goey actually done wrong here? Seriously, what has he done wrong?

He went to Bali on a club-sanctioned break during Collingwood’s bye weekend. So, he took leave from work and travelled overseas.

Next, a few videos were posted on social media with him having fun in a way that may not sit well with fuddy-duddies in their 40s, 50s and 60s. But I can guarantee you there was nothing in those videos that isn’t happening among 20-somethings and every in every city and town every weekend of the year all across the world. If you don’t think that is the case, you are out of your mind.

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Jordan De Goey.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The people with De Goey were enjoying the same lifestyle, including an alleged ‘victim’, desperately appointed so by the hounding media, who turned out to be no such thing.

Jordan De Goey, similar to Dustin Martin, is an easy target. The tattoos. The rough edges. Let’s put it bluntly: people think he’s a dickhead.

But frankly, who cares? No-one deserves the way he has been treated.

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Mainstream football media has very little respect among the football public. Yeah, they might watch the TV shows, listen to the radio, ring the talkback lines – everyone needs something to pass the time – but the bar is so low a snake could barely slither under it.

Anyone with half a brain understands they are all in the same screaming match, trying to out-headline each other.

De Goey has suffered from a media ramp-up of off-field incidents. The Steven May-Jake Melksham incident was first, followed by the Bailey Smith cocaine scandal. Violence and drugs, both of which easily lead to disastrous consequences and lives lost. These blokes basically got a free pass compared to what De Goey has gone through for… partying.

There is more media space to fill in the bye weekends. Fewer teams. Fewer games, half of them uninteresting. That means more time to trawl through social media to find a gotcha moment. We saw another one of these yesterday with Jack Ginnivan and Isaac Quaynor, which Gerard Whateley on AFL360 also linked to De Goey via negatively influencing club culture.

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Jordan De Goey

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

And didn’t you just love the double standards with which Bailey Smith and Jordan de Goey were treated?

Smith made a public statement after his cocaine misdemeanour, spoke about his mental health battles and was held up as a hero, even a role model!

De Goey was hounded into making a public statement after partying in which he bemoaned in his words “the relentless pursuit and persecution of athletes by the media”, and boy did that simply set the media off further. That’s when it became nasty, with many of them ridiculing his statement.

Any name you can think of, they’ve had their shot. Gerard Whateley. Mark Robinson. Jon Ralph. Kane Cornes. Caroline Wilson. Jake Niall. Gary Lyon. Jonathon Brown. Tim Watson. Matthew Lloyd. Luke Hodge. Jordan Lewis. The list is long, and there are many more besides.

The pile-on has been a simple case of media bullying. Let’s not hold back from calling it what it is: bullying of the type that does lead to genuine mental trauma from the same types that say they empathise to those who suffer. It’s enough to make your skin crawl.

Let’s not forget that most of these people are many years De Goey’s senior, up to and more than twice his age. And try to hold yourself back from laughing when you think about what those ex-players and their teammates would have got up to in their playing days. There was no social media back then though, and a much more compliant media was often in on the joke.

Jordan De Goey is employed to play football and has been putting together a fine season as an important part of a team on the rise. Let’s appreciate him for what he is.

We all love the game of football. It’s an amazing sport. The courage and skill of the athletes. The sense of joy and belonging it gives us. It can do great things, as evidenced by the Fight MND movement that the entire industry rallies around each year.

But we must acknowledge the hypocrisy of the media uniting to bully a 26-year-old in a most transparent display of textbook virtue signalling.

The ugliness didn’t happen in Bali, but it has certainly taken place in the days since.

Jordan’s right. Enough is enough.

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