Just Fairfax?

Chip Le Grand over at the Australian is trying to defend a colleague by omission:

The formal charges against Essendon and its officials, publicly announced by Dillon on August 13, were preceded by regular, damaging leaks to the Fairfax press which portrayed Hird as the architect and chief proponent of the club’s supplements program.

That’s a reference to Caroline Wilson of The Age. But what about the Australian’s very own Patrick Smith – he too was receiving information and pushing the AFL line.

To remind ourselves the story has now taken a far more sinister turn:

But the AFL’s preparedness to privately offer Hird inducements while publicly prosecuting the case against him smacks of hypocrisy. The boys’ club method of resolving the crisis also raises fresh questions for ASADA, the government-funded anti-doping body which took the unprecedented step of allowing the AFL to partner its investigation into Essendon and access highly sensitive information normally subject to strict confidentiality provisions.

The Herald Sun is calling for a public inquiry.

We have found evidence of inducements offered to suspended coach James Hird that make a mockery of assurances by AFL chief Andrew Demetriou that Hird would not be paid for his time out of football.

The former Essendon champion was ultimately persuaded to accept being banned from the game for a year, but with a guarantee he would not be dropped from the AFL Hall of Fame, he would receive his full salary while he studied abroad in what was described as an “outstanding career development opportunity and he would not be charged with bringing the game into disrepute. In return, the Brownlow medallist would not proceed with potentially damaging action in the Supreme Court.

In the view of the Herald Sun and borne out by our investigation, this was essential to the AFL, already secretly split in the highly-secret negotiations that were unknown to some members of the AFL Commission.

Sounds like James Hird got the better of that deal – I just wonder why the AFL don’t want to be in court?

Anyway – with all this scandal swirling around the AFL, ASADA and their go-to journalists, you’d think that Smith would keep his head down. But no – just can’t help himself.

It is common practice for the AFL to negotiate settlements for the most serious of rule and behavioural breaches. …
What is so wrong about Fitzpatrick and Little using Wylie as their go-between is the startling conflict of interest it created. …

But then Smith tries to have a bob each way.

It is unimportant that the AFL was seeking a penalty on lack of governance and ASADA was searching for possible use of banned drugs. Wylie, because of his expansive position in Australian sport, was the wrong choice for the job.

That the final penalties were not settled by the full commission until a week later matters little either.

So allegedly offering people inducements to accept penalties doesn’t matter, just the person who negotiated the package should have been someone else? Really?

Then we read this:

If inducements were on the table you would question why Hird was sanctioned at all.

Like monkeys writing Shakespeare, Smith has finally managed to produce something intelligent. Pity he doesn’t pursue that thought. He still manages to whack Hird – “Hird is in danger of blotching his reputation yet again.” This is despite him realising what is going on:

Offers of overseas study trips and career acceleration among other things are nothing but bribes.

But it is Hird who looks bad? Smith is trying too hard to run interference for the AFL.

It looks like the previous government and the AFL stuffed up so badly and got themselves in so much trouble that they’ve had to pay top dollar to stay out of court.

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53 Responses to Just Fairfax?

  1. Robert O.

    I remember the press conference about it; just another phot shot for the pollies.

  2. Token

    It is hard to see that: looks like the previous government and the AFL stuffed up so badly and got themselves in so much trouble that they’ve had to pay top dollar to stay out of court.

    When will the Federal or Victorian government step in like they do when a local council its rotten and suspend the AFL commission?

    It is time for some transparency in this very murky body which has been polluted by an executive management team which has gone off the rails.

  3. steve

    There needs to be an investigation all right. Patrick Smith has few thoughts that are worth reading, but it cannot all be sheeted home to him. Caroline Wilson, Kevin Bartlett, Damian Barrett and a host of others that depend on information from the AFL for their livelihood have only reported the AFL’s side of the story. Demetriou, Fitzpatrick and Wylie need to be investigated as it is looking like Essendon were bullied into taking the rap for a supposed crime in which no person has been charged with a crime. The next step is for all penalties to be removed.

  4. Token

    Caroline Wilson, Kevin Bartlett, Damian Barrett and a host of others that depend on information from the AFL for their livelihood have only reported the AFL’s side of the story.

    Are we surprised the lightweight footy hacks do not stand up to the powers in the sport?

    Yesterday there were 2 spying stories as noted by Paul Murray:

    1. A Chinese national was sacked by the CSIRO after it was proven he sold the secrets of that organisation for profit
    2. Palmer makes crap up about being bugged.

    Which did the editors of the organisations carry & which did they bury? Is it any wonder the boys who never became men just “go along to get along”?

  5. Tom

    Smith on SEN now with Kevin Bartlett and Greg Denham (all of who are AFL bumboys).

  6. Jazza

    I know it is after the effect and all that but as an ex Victorian I can say I always felt something was “off” about Demetriou and couldn’t ever warm to him or accept he was the best and brightest in the AFL. Now it seems he really is allegedly just like an ALP politician of this modern era–did he rise through the union ranks at all, first up?

  7. Tom

    To the Fucktard Media Industrial Complex (which, on the Essendon/Hird issue, includes The Australian, but not the Herald Sun, even though both are Newscorp), Hird is a tribal enemy because he isn’t a luvvee like Fat Andy. Note: Patrick Smith is a former sports editor of The Age and Greg Denham is a former sports writer at The Age, which, of course, is Caroline Wilson’s pulpit.

  8. steve

    Denham went apeshit at a caller on the Comeover’s show yesterday when the caller claimed that Demetriou had some serious questions to answer and should be charged.

  9. steve

    sorry, should be Combover

  10. Michel Lasouris

    I really wonder why an august journal such as Catallaxy expends so much time on sport. Really, who cares what these ‘sports’ persons do to themselves? Ultimately any one stupid enough to wager on the performance of these overpaid and developmentally retarded clowns, and lose their money, deserves it. After all it just means that the money is recirculated for others to use more wisely.
    [OT comments deleted. Sinc]

  11. stackja

    the previous government and the AFL stuffed up

    Clare and Lundy and their mate Andrew Demetriou should be made to pay.

  12. steve

    “I really wonder why an august journal such as Catallaxy ……” – Michel

    stackja is correct, this started off as a political story. Also you should realise that the Cat is open for business all year round:-)

  13. .

    Michael,

    The economics of sport are enough to justify it alone.

  14. Noddy

    It sound like part of the nonsense in our legal system in general… ‘plea bargaining’ otherwise known as a form of legalized blackmailing… plead guilty for this lesser charge and we will not pursue the matter further.
    Might look good on the books but it is not justice!
    It is further shaded by the cost of legal representation… the lesser of the two evils… NOT justice!

  15. jupes

    Smith is all over the shop on this because he went in hard pushing the ‘black day for Australian sport’ line. Too hard obviously, seeing as though there have been precisely zero charges resulting from the ACC investigation.

    The problem with Smith is that he was too keen to believe the bullshit spun by the gormless dickheads from the ACC. He really wants to believe that club officials are bad. Now he is floundering.

  16. jupes

    Michel, you poor man. What a boring life you must lead.

  17. Mike of Marion

    Michel Lasouris
    #1098443, posted on December 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Because Professor S Davidson has a longterm personal fan-based interest!!!!!!!!!!

    And come footy season, we like to bake him when the Bombers get done!!!!

  18. steve

    Mike, we Bomber supporters are always happy to give it back as well……but this is about truth, justice and the American way

  19. Paul

    but this is about truth, justice and the American way

    Hmmm. OK. I guess someone plays AFL in America.

  20. H B Bear

    Patrick Smith is the Jessica Irvine of sports “journalism”. Teh Australian’s equivalent of the old drunk in the front bar of the pub talking to whoever will listen to him.

  21. H B Bear

    Meanwhile at INSEAD, “Boujour. Je m’appel James Hird. Je suis un fugitive d’football.”
    “Bonjour James”

  22. Sinc is a mad bombers fan so he has a personal stake in this.

    The reason the AFL wanted to avoid court is because they know they’d lose and look like idiots. Essendon were acting on advice from ASADA that what they were doing was allowed. It’s not really a mystery.

  23. Token

    I really wonder why an august journal such as Catallaxy expends so much time on sport. Really, who cares what these ‘sports’ persons do to themselves?

    What Michel?

    If the AFL was funded from gate receipts & TV deals we would not care so much.

    Have you seen how much money the AFL has been able to rent seek from taxpayers while Fat Andy has been in charge?

    This is an issue of public probity.

  24. Go Tiges

    The reason the AFL wanted to avoid court is because they know they’d lose and look like idiots. Essendon were acting on advice from ASADA that what they were doing was allowed. It’s not really a mystery.

    Not so sure they were going to lose. The Captain of the club made some fairly startling admissions on FoxFooty, which as far as I know have not been recanted or contradicted. I think the problem for the bombers is no one knows what the players were being given.

  25. Token

    The Captain of the club made some fairly startling admissions on FoxFooty, which as far as I know have not been recanted or contradicted.

    Whether it was correct to give the guys the injections, it has been found that what they were provided was not illegal at the time.

    Watson was being a loud mouthed dill and should be ignored.

  26. Sinclair Davidson

    The Captain of the club made some fairly startling admissions on FoxFooty, which as far as I know have not been recanted or contradicted.

    Nice try. AFL360 revealed the drug that Watson admitted to taking wasn’t on the banned list.

  27. Tom

    Token, worth quoting a few pars from your link:

    In Mr Demetriou’s time at the helm, state and federal governments have ploughed well over $1.5 billion into the grounds that AFL fans flock to every weekend between March and September. Those upgrades have boosted capacity, improved lighting, club facilities, member areas and function rooms – in turn helping to bump up the AFL’s revenue. In 2004 the code brought in $196 million in revenue. By 2012 it was raking in more than double that, $425 million.

    The NRL does not have revenue that comes close to the AFL. In the NRL’s 2013 annual report Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant says the league is aiming to double revenue to $300 million over the next five years – that’s still over $100 million less than current annual AFL revenue.

    Cricket Australia also falls short on revenue, bringing in more than the NRL, but far less than the AFL at just over $264 million in 2012.

  28. MT Isa Miner

    H B Bear

    #1098485, posted on December 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Patrick Smith is the Jessica Irvine of sports “journalism”. Teh Australian’s equivalent of the old drunk in the front bar of the pub talking to whoever will listen to him.

    Ha ha, pay that one, Bear. Does he do diet tips as well as footy tips.

  29. Louis Hissink

    I wonder if the Romans had similar ‘troubles’ at the Colosseum…

  30. james

    That’s a reference to Caroline Wilson of The Age. But what about the Australian’s very own Patrick Smith – he too was receiving information and pushing the AFL line.

    Patrick Smith was on SEN this morning and despite pointedly taking the entirely opposite position to Chip was nothing but complimentary towards him.

    I guess they want to stay cosy at the Oz.

    The reason the AFL wanted to avoid court is because they know they’d lose and look like idiots.

    Bingo.

    The only reason this is still going on is that the fat, hairy, Greek socialist bugger made so many enemies in the sporting press over the last 12 months.

    SEN is doing a little bit of suck up because they desperately want to keep Football coverage and almost lost it the last time they went against City Hall with the Grant Thomas saga

    But Robbo at the HS, Chip at the Oz and Bec Wilson at the DT have long memories.

    Andy D thinks that posing with the premier and the chief of police for White Ribbon Day, hanging around with ALP power brokers and making speeches about wacism makes him a far bigger player than he is.

    The rumour is that he has already been told to stand down. Without his little podium C. Wilson and P. Smith may very well no longer answer his phone calls, and the wolves of the fourth estate may well descend to punish his hubris.

    Have you seen how much money the AFL has been able to rent seek from taxpayers while Fat Andy has been in charge?

    Andy D and others at the top of the AFL tree have close relationships with ALP higher ups. Eddie McGuire got his brother a state seat for the ALP.

    We recently had a former footballer as an ALP state front bencher and a former Liberal Premier as the president of Hawthorn.

    This is a site for the discussion of politics and economics. In Victoria both are intimately involved with Aussie rules football.

    Patrick Smith is the Jessica Irvine of sports “journalism”. Teh Australian’s equivalent of the old drunk in the front bar of the pub talking to whoever will listen to him.

    And aside from KB on his morning breakfast show, no-one seems to pay any attention to him any more. No wonder he was so easy to turn into a poodle of the fat Greek.

    The problem with Smith is that he was too keen to believe the bullshit spun by the gormless dickheads from the ACC. He really wants to believe that club officials are bad. Now he is floundering.

    But he SOUNDS so certain Jupes! Surely that counts for something?

    Caroline Wilson, Kevin Bartlett, Damian Barrett and a host of others that depend on information from the AFL for their livelihood have only reported the AFL’s side of the story.

    The hilarious part is hearing all of the above gasp in shock and shake their heads sadly when denouncing the temerity of James Hird to leak to the media when Andy D has been leaking so much and for so long that adult nappies are a serious expense at AFL house.

    Damian Barrett in particular has NO redeeming features whatsoever, the man is simply a toad who has attained some small smattering of the spotlight by attaching himself to a sport and gaining vicarious glory from the athletic and administrative talents of better men.

    Even Caroline Wilson has more balls than him.

  31. Token

    What other industry sees the executive so well paid where so much is based upon their ability to increase revenue by using capital drawn from rate payers?

    In Mr Demetriou’s time at the helm, state and federal governments have ploughed well over $1.5 billion into the grounds that AFL fans flock to every weekend between March and September. Those upgrades have boosted capacity, improved lighting, club facilities, member areas and function rooms – in turn helping to bump up the AFL’s revenue. In 2004 the code brought in $196 million in revenue. By 2012 it was raking in more than double that, $425 million.

    One hopes the net tax receipts from this investment is worth it.

    One demands the extreme probity by government agencies like Auditor General departments considering the large slabs of public funds sunk into such projects.

  32. james

    One demands the extreme probity by government agencies like Auditor General departments considering the large slabs of public funds sunk into such projects.

    Token, no pollie who ever wants to win a vote in Victoria ever again will look too closely into the pork that goes the AFLs way.

    panem et circenses are a great tradition after all. And I say this as a fan who understand the extreme passion amongst the otherwise politically un-engaged in this state for this game.

    One of the reasons why it is so dangerous to allow a man with obvious left wing loyalties to run the thing.

  33. Sinclair Davidson

    I think you guys are being too hard on young Jessica.

  34. Des Deskperson

    ‘–did he rise through the union ranks at all, first up?’

    Dunno about union contacts, but Demetriou seems to have lots of mates and backers at his old, as they say, alma mata, Latrobe University, the place that seriously advertises itself as one of the three top unis in Victoria, i.e. the third best.

    Until it folded without explanation a few years back, I used to receive unsolicited e-copies of the Latrobe alumni magazine, Agora. It was always crammed with articles, photographs and interviews on or of Demetriou, you would be forgiven for thinking that he and the woman who co-founded ‘Lonely Planet’ were the only two Latrobe grads who had ever made good. Perhaps they are!!

  35. Tom

    Sinc, how would you view a company that listed Jessica Irvine as an advisor? She has made the Daily Tele a laughing stock. She is an airhead who is a shocking advertisement for university economics departments. She was hired in a cynical attempt to buy some zombie Gen Y readers from ShakeMyHead.com. Newscorp also co-produces Ten’s Press The Meat and has put her on in a clownish attempt to make some of Ten’s zombie Gen Ys watch. Her parroting of whatever is today’s Labor talking point is embarrassing. She is a dumbed down version of the Kook.

    Are you and Andrew Leigh Jessica’s secret sugardaddies? Are you secretly a Keynesian?

  36. Megan

    The speculation on Catallaxy threads at the time the Bombers penalty was handed down was that something very much like what is being revealed now had to have happened for Hird and Essendon to have capitulated in the way they did. When you looked at the detail, which plenty of people here did, the whole ridiculous saga had more holes in it than my fish-net tights.

    The problem for idiots like Fat Andy is that they (a) do not have the intelligence to recognise when they are out of their depth and (b) think that they are so intelligent that they will be able to permanently hide their littered pathway of lies, misinformation, leaking, manipulation and various other unsavoury practices from eventual exposure. The truth, and/or various versions of it, always bubbles up from the sewer eventually. He is completely and utterly discredited but still refuses to walk.

  37. james

    Newscorp also co-produces Ten’s Press The Meat

    How long can that keep going on?

    Anyone interested in mindless celebrity dross has numerous other outlets from The Project to ET and any who wants to watch lefties talk to lefties can tune into the better quality Insiders.

    What market exactly are they going for?

    Her parroting of whatever is today’s Labor talking point is embarrassing.

    To be fair Tom the issue is not her parroting of ALP releases, the issue is that she is far more obvious in doing so than her fellow commentators.

    And when her peers include the not-exactly-subtle likes of Oakes, Rimmington and Riley on the box she aint in great shape.

  38. Megan

    Des. I did first year Eco at Latrobe. HATED it. Had to discover the Cat to begin developing a basic understanding of the subject.

  39. Token

    She has made the Daily Tele a laughing stock. She is an airhead who is a shocking advertisement for university economics departments.

    Newscorp have incoherent lefty women writing opinion pieces as part of their commitment to “balance” – Sarah la M in the Tele and Susie O in the Hun serve the same purpose.

    Is it the sheer hubris of the ABC & FauxFacts they they do not provide a similar alternative, or they can’t find people on the right who will undermine their cause as well as the vapid women at News do?

  40. .

    Sinc – no.

    I will will refrain from Mc Carthyism after Tom gave such a sweet and plump segue for it.

  41. james

    Newscorp have incoherent lefty women writing opinion pieces as part of their commitment to “balance” – Sarah la M in the Tele and Susie O in the Hun serve the same purpose.

    The Hun also has the young chick with the hipster glasses and studiously “Funky” hair.

    We beez down wid de kidz yall!

  42. .

    Oh dear God did anyone watch/hear Suzie blather on the last MTP about how much we need subsidies for Ford and GMH?

    It was truly awful.

  43. JC

    token

    Fairfax cannot find anyone on the right stupid enough to fill token positions like Jess does at News.
    Thats an impossible ask.

  44. MT Isa Miner

    Sinclair Davidson

    #1098550, posted on December 5, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I think you guys are being too hard on young Jessica.

    That’s because you are a chivalrous man at heart, Sinclair. I hope your mrs appreciates it.

    I would not include you in the shock troops that’s what the other Huns like I.T. and Rabz and the rest of the “sink the boot’ crew are for.

    Some days are more Hunnish than others. I am gobsmacked because I know nothing about this but what the Cat comments has proved so true about this whole Hird stuffup it is no wonder they want blood.

  45. Megan

    Suzie is another one who seriously over-estimates her intellectual armoury. It’s made up of an air-rifle and a pop-gun.

  46. the sting

    Sinclair,I remember a few months back when you quoted the judges comments to the AFL’s counsel,something like”this could be a once in a generation court case”.He was clearly warning them how shaky was their case against Hird.[Please correct my comments where necessary]You clearly were a prophet about this supplements saga.

  47. james

    No offence to female writers, but the crop the HS and the Age have currently make me doubt the stability of the female mind.

  48. steve

    @james- MISOGYNIST, MISOGYNIST, MISOGYNIST!!

  49. steve

    I’ll tell you something else about Patrick Smith’s articles in the Oz, no comments allowed. Wonder why?

  50. feelthebern

    Jessica Irvine is the blurst journo ever.

  51. Rabz

    FFS, am I missing something here?

    How on earth is that fat greek bastard’s position as CEO of the ALPFL not completely untenable?

    Why has he not resigned in disgrace or been sacked?

    :x

  52. Peewhit

    If you would like to look at the constitution it has a provision allowing a tradesman to follow his trade. So if you get a job as paid coach at another club, legally the club or the league you were with must allow you to do your paid job. Think about the inferences of this when you have a trade as a football player. Now think about how keen the Leagues are to see this get to a court where their whole house of cards (probably) is pulled down

  53. Exactly Peewhit. The AFL wants to avoid any court cases at all costs because the very foundation the AFL is built on (the socialist player draft system and the salary cap) is illegal restraint of trade in Australia.

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