Collingwood Magpies president and AFL commentator Eddie McGuire’s week has gone from bad to worse, with weeks-old footage exposing his hypocrisy over punishments for players who breach coronavirus guidelines.
McGuire was panned this week for defending Magpies veteran Steele Sidebottom, who was banned for four games after drunkenly breaching the AFL’s strict protocols and needing to be driven home by police last weekend.
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Dismissing the incident as ‘just a bad night’, McGuire said he and the club were ‘proud’ of the way Sidebottom had handled the incident.
This response drew a raised eyebrow from many in football media, who were quick to point out McGuire’s insistence that Geelong should have been upfront about the unknown circumstances surrounding Jack Steven’s stabbing earlier in the year.
Criticism only flared up more when footage from panel show Footy Classified surfaced on Saturday, in which McGuire called for season-long bans and a $100,000 fine for any player caught flouting the AFL’s rules.
McGuire made the heavy-handed suggestion after three Fremantle Dockers players were investigated for breaching lockdown laws in Western Australia in late April.
“It has to be the last time. It really does,” McGuire said at the time.
“So maybe it has to be $100,000 and he gets suspended for the year. What do we have to tell people?
“We are trying to claw back five hundred to $600 million.
“No-one will have a job next year. Pull your heads in.”
Interesting double standards by Eddie McGuire on Footy Classified. 🤔🙄😮😕 https://t.co/K2DmCWzfeb— Ben Donald (@benjid88) July 4, 2020
Critics take aim at Eddie McGuire
Unsurprisingly, criticism of McGuire hasn’t exactly been in short supply since the AFL handed down it’s decision on Sidebottom.
Most have been quick to seize on his comments about Steven, while others weren’t shy to tell him his defence of Sidebottom wasn’t fair dinkum.
Essendon champion and Footy Classified co-host Matthew Lloyd was the first to refer to McGuire’s earlier comments about the Dockers trio.
“You’re too close to this story,” Lloyd said.
“I heard you three weeks ago, Ed. You said, ‘How are these guys doing it?’
“I said, ‘Ed, you know what someone else will make a mistake’. And you’re going, ‘These players, how could they do it?’
“I’d love to get it up if we could, because that’s exactly what you said.”
AFL reporter Damian Barrett didn’t mince his words either, using his weekly ‘If/Then’ column to level the hypocrisy charge at McGuire.
“If Eddie, justifiably, wanted a proper public explanation around Jack Steven’s stabbing, then don’t be too hard on him that he didn’t want one on Steele Sidebottom,” Barrett wrote.
“Ed’s public search for awkward detail applies only to players from 17 clubs.”
Fox Footy host Mark Robinson also got stuck into the Magpies president.
“Eddie McGuire, he whacked Geelong, whacked them over Jack Steven, ‘Tell the full story, if you don’t call a press conference, tell the full story.’” Robinson said.
“Tell the full story then, Ed. Because you know what, the press release Collingwood sent out did not have that Steele Sidebottom was taken home by police.”
McGuire’s controversial push for information surrounding the Jack Steven incident drew the ire of prominent Melbourne radio host Neil Mitchell back in May.
Mitchell said McGuire’s reluctance to expose his own club to the same level of scrutiny was damning.
“Don’t anybody accuse Eddie McGuire of hypocrisy or he’s behaving like a world champion hypocrite at the moment,” Mitchell said in May.
“Don’t accuse him of a conflict of interest or anything like that because he will go feral. After all, he’s ‘Untouchable Eddie’.