Adelaide Crows football director and club legend Mark Ricciuto has ruffled some feathers after a stinging assessment of several players who had left the club in recent years.
In an interview with Triple M, Ricciuto said salary cap concerns were the the chief reason why the club was happy to let the likes of Jake Lever, Mitch McGovern, Charlie Cameron and several others walk to other clubs on lucrative deals.
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The former Brownlow Medallist didn’t spare any of the aforementioned players in his brutal assessment, giving details on the salaries Lever and McGovern were earning from Melbourne and Carlton respectively.
Ricciuto said the Crows were happy to let Lever and McGovern walk because they didn’t believe they were worth their more expensive new contracts, only expressing regret over their failure to convince small forward Cameron to stay.
His brutal honestly prompted a mixed reaction from AFL commentators, with former North Melbourne champion David King suggesting Ricciuto’s comments were out of line.
“I think they’re unfair. I don’t think that that’s part of the deal,” King said on Fox Footy’s AFL 360.
“I know that Mark’s privy to a lot of the contractual information with the Adelaide Crows players that are both there at the moment and that have left.
“But it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a director publicly nominating the figures and why players have left.”
Over on Channel 9, veteran journalist Caroline Wilson said it was ‘appalling’ for someone of Ricciuto’s seniority to reveal what certain players would be earning.
“He’s insulted McGovern obviously, and Jake Lever,” Wilson said.
“He’s upset three clubs, because he’s basically talked about how much they’re being paid, and he’s completely failed to accept or acknowledge that Adelaide have a problem.
“Players never leave for just money alone.”
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Many of Ricciuto’s critics have suggested Adelaide’s disastrous 2018 pre-season camp was the main motivation behind McGovern and Cameron’s departure.
While there has been plenty of criticism, Ricciuto has stuck to his guns, suggesting it was hypocritical of certain media members to want more transparency from clubs, only to use that to criticise them in the same breath.
“I wasn’t trying to offend McGovern or Jake or anyone,” he told Triple M on Thursday.
“It wasn’t trying to have a crack at them, it was trying to make Crows fans understand why some players have left and the reason why.
“People cry out for more honesty, whether it’s members or media. When you try and give a little bit of honesty some people choose to find holes in why you did it and how you do it.”