An array of AFL media personalities have defended a now defunct segment that used to run during radio station Triple M's coverage, which highlighted the worst three players in each game.
Former St Kilda goalkicking champion Fraser Gehrig made a guest appearance on Triple M last Friday, where he took aim at an old segment in which the hosts would hand 3-2-1 votes to the worst players on ground.
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Current host James Brayshaw made mention of a memorable run-in at a St Kilda 'Mad Monday' post-season event in which Gehrig had threatened to 'snap' the hosts responsible for the bit.
Gehrig admitted he had never been a fan of the segment, arguing on Friday night that hearing that kind of criticism right after a game had been damaging to the mental health of certain players.
The 45-year-old played 260 games for West Coast and St Kilda, retiring in 2008.
“Triple M, to be honest, in their heyday, and I’m not trying to be rude saying this, when you did your 3-2-1 worst players on ground it had an effect on things like depression," Gehrig said.
"And a lot of the guys who were doing those calls have had depression in their lives — and I don’t think it helped.
“Brayshaw, Lyon and these sorts of blokes, at the time I thought, ‘Go get stuffed’. You know, they’ve had a few beers and they want to come up and try to be heroes and I told them (where to go). So I’ll stand by that.”
However in the days since, the likes of AFL journalist Damien Barrett, who still works for Triple M, and former presenter Craig Hutchison, now with SEN, have defended the segment.
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The pair discussed Gehrig's comments on their Sounding Board podcast, with Barrett accepting the former Saint's point, but also defending the segment in question as more lighthearted in nature.
“It was an irreverent way of covering a game of footy. I can 100 per cent tell you a lot of footballers loved the negative 3-2-1s,” he said.
“I don’t think it was ever done in a vindictive, malicious way.
“Having said that you need to factor in that Fraser Gehrig thought it was and on top of that, I reckon it’s seven or eight years now that it hasn’t been done.
“I remember at the time … when we were told at Triple M to stop it, I didn’t say anything, but I remember thinking, ‘That’s a shame’. But I’m so glad we did make that decision seven or eight years ago."
Hutchison took a similar view, but stressed that nobody involved had set out to deliberately hurt anyone's feelings.
“I feel that team spent a lot of time talking players up and getting people excited about them and never really talked down to them. I just wanted to defend those mentioned," he said.
“If you listened to Fraser you’d think they were sitting there talking the game down. They weren’t. It was always a bit of fun, tongue in cheek.
“I take what Fraser’s saying to be true, I just wanted to defend that it was intended to be lighthearted and when we got a little bit more awareness, it was left behind.
“As time goes on there are things you do you realise weren’t pitch-perfect at the time and that’s one of the evolutions of the world.”
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