Here is Eddie McGuire promoting free speech and gender equality on Monday night:
MARIE-ANNA WILSON: Thank you, Tony. Tania Hird expressed her views of how her husband, James, was treated in the Essendon drugs saga. James may be held accountable for his wife’s comments by certain people calling for the end of his employment with the Essendon Football Club. Is it reasonable to hold James Hird answerable for the views expressed by his wife?
TONY JONES: Hang on. Go back to the question, though. I mean the question was can you hold him responsible for what his wife said, because she is the one who talked on 7.30?
EDDIE McGUIRE: Well, I think the answer is yes and that’s the situation. Now, the Essendon Football Club…
RACHEL GRIFFITHS: I am going to say so many bad things tonight and you can hold my husband responsible. Woo-hoo!
Ms Hird, who describes herself as an assiduous record-keeper, witnessed the events that followed.
“Certainly I heard David Evans say to James on speakerphone – I was taking notes, I take a lot of notes – on July 25, David admitted that he said to James, ‘Can you go into ASADA and tell the whole truth, but don’t say what Andrew Demetriou told us’,” she said.
Asked if she was referring to a “tip-off”, she said: “It has been referred to as the tip-off.”
She continued: “So James did say, in return, ‘If I’m not asked about it, I won’t offer it up. But if I’m asked about it, like anything I’m asked about, I will answer it honestly, truthfully, and to the best of my ability.”
Then there is this:
Now his wife Tania has told the ABC’s 7.30 that Hird was made to take the fall despite doing nothing wrong.
“He wasn’t found guilty of any breach of the player rules. In the end, it was the threats and the bullying of the AFL to the club and to himself,” she told the ABC’s 7.30 program.
“I definitely think James was a scapegoat, in fact, we were told that James being the scapegoat was non-negotiable.”
We were told prior to the announcement that there was going to be an investigation into the Essendon Football Club involving performance-enhancing drugs or supplements. We were told that at a time that we shouldn’t have been told that.
When asked who told her that, she replied: “I’m not at liberty to say.”
The AFL and its media running dogs* are in full cover-up mode. Here is Louise Milligan describing what happened next:
First off the mark was Mr Football, Eddie McGuire. On his Triple M Hot Breakfast show, Eddie McGuire confidently predicted “I don’t think we’ll see James Hird coach Essendon again”. Around the same time over at Channel Nine’s Today, Karl Stefanovic was predicting Hird already was sacked. Of course, that was not true. Someone was spinning it, though. And why was he being sacked? For the words of his wife. James Hird has been gagged by the AFL’s “non-disparagement” clause in his settlement agreement and by the Essendon chairman, Paul Little. So of course, I was not at liberty to interview him. Paul Little is the one who later said on 3AW’s Neil Mitchell program that Hird needed to “control those around him”. That’s Tania, apparently. Now, I’m no industrial lawyer, but I’m guessing that if we start binding people’s spouses in their workplace agreements, we’re getting into problematic territory. And I thought we had got past the era where husbands had to “control” wives.
This morning “Robbo” has a great expose in the Herald Sun:
People talk about boys’ club and how’s this for a club.
Evans owns a successful investment company called Evans & Partners. Guess who sits on its advisory board? Eddie McGuire and Bill Kelty. And, up until recently, John Wylie.
He is a bloke who happens to be chairman of the Australian Sports Commission and was the secret deal-breaker in this whole mess.
Wylie was drafted into negotiations by AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick and Bombers chairman Paul Little to help form the deal which Hird was forced to accept.
Also, Evans and Wylie sit on the board of the Melbourne Stars Twenty20 team, of which McGuire is president.
A question: Are platforms and boys clubs being used to protect their good mate David Evans?
From an organisational perspective I understand that rough justice can be an easy solution to complex issues. The problem is that people have to be accepting of that rough justice. Tania Hird clearly isn’t accepting – and neither should anyone else be accepting of this situation either. Something very dodgy is going on at the AFL – and it is the cover up that is going get them undone.
Here is Eddie McGuire again:
… they went on the 7.30 Report and that might have been okay in a political sphere but in a lot of ways it showed a naiveté to the football world and that’s the world that James has to live in. And, unfortunately, he has defied his club, who have told him on numerous occasions to please let it pass …
This is the man who would tell anyone who would listen that it’s more than a game about an organisation that claims it’s all for the fans.
* “Robbo” describes some of them as follows:
Tania was called stupid by a media person christened the “Perfumed Scorpion’’ by the Triple M gang, while another media person, who we’ll call the “Hunchback of Hate”, has already declared her to be favourite for the goose of the year.