AFL Coaches Association president David Parkin says Essendon coach James Hird can expect condemnation for his role in the AFL club's supplement saga, regardless of what the investigation uncovers.
But Parkin said he would be flabbergasted if it ended up costing Hird his job.
Parkin, a four-times premiership coach, said he had contacted Hird to offer his support after the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency investigation was launched into the club last week and he had enormous respect and sympathy for the Bombers mentor.
But he said a senior coach ultimately had to take responsibility for the way an AFL club treated their players.
"He came back and was very pleased for the support obviously," Parkin said on Melbourne's SEN radio today.
"But I felt he was in a position of no-win now.
"It won't matter whether he knew, didn't know, was encouraging or not knowing, he'll be condemned for the position he's held."
Parkin said it was possible, given the size of AFL football departments, that Hird would not have known everything that was happening to players at the club.
But he said that didn't absolve him of responsibility.
"Coaches are responsible for the health and wellbeing of their players," Parkin said.
"We know they're responsible for their performance, but in hand with that if they're not looking after them as people, particularly in the broader sense of their health and wellbeing, then they shouldn't be in the job either."
But Parkin said though some were suggesting Hird should be sacked, Hird had great values and behaviours and was the kind of person anyone would want as a leader in their club.
"I've got great faith in James as a person and as a leader of that organisation and I would be absolutely flabbergasted if that was the end result of this investigation," he said.
Australian Associated Press