Bruce McAvaney was forced to apologise on-air on Thursday night after a comment about Jordan De Goey’s indecent assault charged sparked uproar.
De Goey marked his AFL return with a five-goal haul to help lift Collingwood to a 22-point victory over Geelong at Perth's Optus Stadium.
‘HUGE GAMBLE’: Fears over 22,000-strong AFL crowd
De Goey missed last week’s win against Hawthorn after being charged with indecent assault over an alleged incident from 2015.
In front of 22,077 fans on Thursday night, De Goey booted 5.1 from 16 disposals in the 8.9 (57) to 5.5 (35) victory.
McAvaney, who was in commentary for Channel 7 during the game, referenced the police charge after De Goey booted his first goal, describing it as a “hiccup.”
“This will do his confidence a world of good,” the 67-year-old said.
“We feel like he’s full of confidence. He’s had an OK year so far. And then he’s had a hiccup, we know.”
However his choice of words went down like a lead balloon.
After backlash on social media, McAvaney issued an apology on-air.
“I mentioned him (De Goey) earlier tonight and I used some words that I wish I hadn’t,” McAvaney said.
“I said that he had a hiccup. I was thinking of it in a football sense and I know that it’s upset a lot of people tonight and I do apologise completely.
“I do apologise. Jordan is facing some serious allegations and it’s more than a hiccup and I realise that.
“So for anyone that’s taken offence, I understand completely.”
Jessica Halloran of The Australian was among those to criticise McAvaney.
“The Victorian Police have charged Jordan De Goey with sexual assault. A ‘hiccup’?” she wrote on Twitter.
Fox Footy reporter Max Laughton wrote: “A ‘hiccup’ for Jordan de Goey. Not great”.
The Victorian Police have charged Jordan De Goey with sexual assault. A “hiccup”? https://t.co/LtBSFwrICT— Jessica Halloran (@JessiHalloran) July 16, 2020
"A hiccup" for Jordan de Goey.— Max Laughton (@maxlaughton) July 16, 2020
Not great. https://t.co/kB4e2IomCm
Bruce McAvaney is a nice guy.— Cheryl Critchley (@CherylCritchley) July 16, 2020
We all make mistakes.
But describing Jordan De Goey’s indecent assault charge as a hiccup is not good.
It demeans the alleged victim and makes women like me who love footy despair that it’s still a boy’s club after all. #AFL https://t.co/hkv9keIPTh
I know, right? And to make matters worse they used the clip with McAvaney referring to sexual assault charges as “a hiccup”. Disgusting.— 💧Kat Oxley💧 (@kat_71) July 16, 2020
Jordan De Goey stars in AFL return
The Cats closed to within nine points in the final quarter, but De Goey halted their momentum with a 25m soccered goal.
He then kicked two more goals at the death after the Cats had given themselves a late sniff.
De Goey was charged, along with another man, with one count of indecent assault regarding an alleged historical incident in 2015 in the Melbourne suburb of Kew.
Collingwood said De Goey was investigated by the AFL integrity unit and Victoria Police in 2018 but no charges were laid at the time.
Victoria Police said the two men would face court on October 30.
“Detectives from the Sexual Crimes Squad have charged two people in relation to a reported sexual assault,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said.
“Two 24-year-olds, one from Hampton East and one from Clematis, have both been charged with indecent assault and bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court.”