Mark Robinson has hit out at Eddie McGuire over his actions and use of language during the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking on Fox Footy on Monday night, the outspoken journalist criticised McGuire for “semi-guilt tripping members” and “backhanding” players with his recent comments.
‘I’M FILTHY’: Mick Malthouse lashes Victorian-centric AFL
Robinson was referring to McGuire’s ugly on-air blow up at Tony Jones over fans asking for refunds on their 2020 memberships, as well as the Collingwood boss saying there would be a ‘mutiny’ at clubs if senior players didn’t buy into radical plans to restart the season.
Creating hubs, where teams are separated into three groups and isolated in different states to limit their exposure to COVID-19, is one of the scenarios the league is considering as it plots a way out of the financially-crippling shutdown.
However McGuire says clubs would face a ‘mutiny’ if players didn’t all agree to support the controversial plan.
“There’s a lot of players who aren’t getting paid $750,000 that need to eat and there’s a lot of people out there at the moment who would do anything for a job,” McGuire said last week.
“I think that would be really bad — and I don’t think it will get to that because everyone’s trying to work through what’s going to be the best situation.”
Mark Robinson criticises Eddie McGuire’s comments
However Robinson took exception to McGuire’s comments.
“Some of the language Eddie’s using at this time, in these last couple of weeks - we’re all stressed. We’re all conflicted, we’re all under pressure, we all want games back, people are losing their jobs,” Robinson said on Fox Footy Live.
“And I think Eddie, in the use of the language like ‘there’s gonna be a mutiny’ if players don’t want to go into these hubs, ‘mutiny’. I just think the choice of vocabulary is not helping.
“Fighting with Tony Jones, saying to members, ‘don’t make a run on our football club, don’t make a run on the clubs’, well hang on, ‘I haven’t got a job, my wife hasn’t got a job’. I thought it was semi-guilt tripping members.
“He’s doing a mountain of work. But ease up on what I’d consider threats, and throwing little grenades at people. This is hard enough.”
Robinson said McGuire was causing unnecessary ‘angst and anxiety’ among the playing group.
“People will say it’s personal. I get on with Eddie pretty well. For a chief football writer and a president, I get on pretty well. Is he a friend? No. Would he classify me as a friend? No,” Robinson continued.
“But when I see the angst that he’s causing and the anxiety he can be causing ... ring up 700 players who are thinking of not going to the hubs and ask, what did you think of the mutiny line? Ring up 200, ring up 10, whatever.
“Mutiny. That’s a strong word. Aren’t we in this together? Aren’t we all in this, hasn’t everyone been saying we’re all in this together?
“He’s saying don’t expect to get paid, and there’ll be mutiny at the football club. You can’t say oh it’s, you can be a conscientious objector, no worries, but you’re not going to get paid and it’s going to be a mutiny at the football club.
“I thought it was a bit of a backhander for the players.”
However McGuire’s comments were defended by AFL great David King, who believed McGuire was just “speaking from the heart”.
“And it’s a hard one to pare back because that’s the package, that’s why Eddie’s so successful,” King said.
“When he said ‘this is a nuclear bomb’, he was spot on. No-one had gone to that extreme at that stage, and it was only the week or two after that where we said ‘hang on, he’s right here’.
“The mutiny one, there’s probably some room to move there, but I think he’s doing a great job and I’m glad we’ve got him.”