Veteran AFL reporter Caroline Wilson has labelled Essendon legend Kevin Sheedy's call for the AFL to apologise for its handling of the club's doping saga as 'nonsensical'.
Sheedy surprised many AFL observers when he brought up perhaps the greatest wound in Bombers history days before the club's 150th anniversary celebrations.
Essendon have had enough trouble on and off the field in 2022 already, with a dismal record prompting the club to launch an internal review.
With many past servants of the club, including James Hird, who coached the club throughout the doping crisis, returning to celebrate this weekend, Wilson and fellow AFL reporter Damian Barrett were both puzzled as to why Sheedy would bring it up.
In his comments to the Herald Sun, Sheedy said the players had never been found guilty or recorded a positive test for banned performance enhancing substances, and believed the AFL's handling of the situation had been 'disgraceful'.
“They were never found guilty in the eyes of positive tests," he said.
“It’s 10 years. What do I have to do, wait for another 10 years until I get to 85 years old until they get exonerated? It’s disgraceful.”
Later admitting he probably shouldn't have brought the painful subject up, Sheedy said he was frustrated by still constant questions about the saga at public speaking gigs.
Wilson though, thought his call for an official apology from the AFL was ludicrous.
"Kevin Sheedy's nonsensical demands today, referencing the most crippling period in the club's history, was the last thing Essendon needed" 🎯
Caro's arrow for Kevin Sheedy, for his call for the AFL to apologise to the Bombers over the supplements saga.#9FootyClassified pic.twitter.com/9Z0j6GJ2CL
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) June 6, 2022
“Kevin Sheedy‘s nonsensical demands today, referencing the most crippling period in the club’s history, was the last thing Essendon needed as it readies itself for its big 150th celebration against Carlton on Friday night,” she said on Footy Classified.
“The AFL, according to Kevin, didn‘t handle the saga very smartly. Seriously, Kevin? What about Essendon?
“Frankly, this rogue, cheerleading and truther behaviour is not needed either as James Hird returns to the club for the pre-game celebrations.”
Kevin Sheedy's call for AFL apology heavily criticised
Wilson was not alone on her criticism of Sheedy invoking the spectre of the club's darkest days.
AFL.com.au journalisr Damian Barrett was also confused as to why now was the right time for a powerhouse Essendon figure such as Sheedy to make such a demand.
He said Sheedy's comments 'served no purpose at all' given how few players remain on the club's list from that time.
"I've been confused regularly over the words that come out of that man's mouth, and I'm as confused as ever this morning"
What Kevin Sheedy comments are Nat and Damo reacting to? Find out on AFL Daily: https://t.co/v0feLVr98U pic.twitter.com/D1xHasdwY6
— AFL (@AFL) June 6, 2022
“Not for the first time, I have no idea what Kevin Sheedy is doing,” Barrett told the AFL Daily podcast on Tuesday.
“To rightly refer to this period of time in this football club‘s life – when it’s celebrating this big moment this particular Saturday night at a gala event – and for him to basically volunteer everyone in the industry to go back to the darkest time – not just for that club, but for the actual industry itself – and to highlight what was so wrong about the operations at that time and to then bring it forward to the 2022 season – which is a period in which is not going well for the Bombers – I have no idea.
"While Kevin conveniently says that no one ever tested positive to whatever it was they took – and they still don‘t know what they took and that’s part of this, the club has admitted that courageously in the aftermath – but to refer to there being no positive drug tests as ultimately an endorsement of what happened, it’s just so wrong to even go down that path."
The 74-year-old AFL legend maintained that anti-doping authorities had no proven any player guilty of having been injjected with a performance enhancing substance, saying that since they had been unable to prove the players hadn't taken the substances they were then found guilty.
“The AFL should apologise … and they probably wouldn’t have the courage to apologise to Essendon,” Sheedy said.
“I would think, when you look back, the AFL didn’t handle it very smartly. We were controlled by the government.
“All those players and everyone involved through that period suffered a penalty of suspicion.”
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