Nathan Buckley had a terse exchange with AFL reporter Tony Jones, after the veteran broadcaster asked if the Magpies coach had decided to step down on his own, or had been 'tapped'.
The Magpies legend announced he would step down as head coach on Wednesday, a decision sparked by the club's woeful 3-9 start to the season.
'INCREDIBLY SAD': Adam Goodes rejects Hall of Fame offer
'HARD TO WATCH': Neale Daniher's daughter shares sad update
His decision comes amid a background of behind-the-scenes turmoil at Collingwood, with the club's board subject to a potential takeover bid.
Buckley's departure follows a tumultuous off-season which also saw former president Eddie McGuire step down, as well as the loss of several key players - notably Adam Treloar and Jaidyn Stephenson.
During the press conference announcing Buckley's decision to step down as coach following Monday's Queen's Birthday match against Melbourne, Jones sought to clarify whether the club or Buckley himself had initiated the move for him to step down.
“Bucks, this is one the few opportunities you get to write the headline, and as you said, you’ve been very transparent," Jones started.
"So what is the headline, just to clarify? Is it: ‘Nathan Buckley has stepped aside’ or ‘Nathan Buckley was tapped?’”
A somewhat perplexed Buckley replied that he was sceptical any answer that he gave would match the headline.
“I wouldn’t presume to do your job for you TJ so you can write it however you wish mate," Buckley said.
"And one thing I have noticed (is) that even if I speak from the heart and actually tell you what I think and feel, the headline very rarely is connected to what I say so just go for it mate.”
Some footy fans were unimpressed with the blunt line of questioning.
Jay was great, very considered. @sam_mcclure also handled it very well. As for Tony Jones 🙄
— The Footy Freak (@thefootyfreak) June 9, 2021
It would be sweet if Nathan Buckley took a job in the media replacing Tony Jones
— Ewart Dave 🕯 (@davidbewart) June 9, 2021
There should be a dedicated mute button for Tony Jones questions. https://t.co/rW5hU0Sn2i
— The Made Guy (@The_Made_Guy) June 9, 2021
Jones was undaunted though, again asking Buckley to clarify whether the Magpies had suggested he step down, or if it was a conclusion he'd reached himself.
A still somewhat irritated Buckley said the decision was a mutual one.
“What is ‘tapped’? I actually don’t even know what that means mate but go for it,” Buckley said.
“I’ve had a part in this, I’m not being smart about this mate, but I have had a hand in the conversations. Nothing lasts forever, I was going to be tapped at some stage.
“But there’s no doubt that this is the best thing for the football club. I’ve always believed that that’s what should happen and the guys either side of me, the guys that are in the board room, (and) the players all want to see the right thing happen for the club."
Nathan Buckley steps down as Collingwood coach
Collingwood sit 16th on the table with a 3-9 record, having beaten Adelaide last week.
They face ladder leaders Melbourne on Monday in the traditional Queen's Birthday contest, which has been moved to Sydney and is now likely to be Buckley's last game in charge.
As recently as last week, Buckley had reaffirmed his desire to continue coaching the Magpies and commitment to the club's "reset" process.
Thanks Bucks 🖤
After almost 10 seasons and 217 matches in charge, Nathan Buckley will coach the team for the last time next Monday when Collingwood meets Melbourne at the SCG.
— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) June 9, 2021
Nathan Buckley was my sporting hero as a kid. This is going to lead to plenty of trolling from Brisbane fans but to me it’s really sad that he never got that premiership as a Collingwood player or head coach. He was 🤏 this close 3 times. I hope he gets it somewhere else. #AFL
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) June 9, 2021
Alastair Clarkson talks about the “key pillars” at clubs — president, CEO, coach, captain, football boss etc. Four key pillars at Collingwood have now changed: Geoff Walsh, Eddie McGuire, Ned Guy and Nathan Buckley. The club’s leadership will almost be unrecognisable next week.
— Sam Landsberger 🗯 (@SamLandsberger) June 9, 2021
"The situation that we're in is not fatal - it's a moment in time," Buckley said on June 4.
"There's a lot of things that are working for us and will come through in coming years, no doubt."
Buckley conceded in May the club had descended into "reset" mode after a month earlier saying he was "absolutely" aligned with new president Mark Korda's assessment that finals were still on the agenda.
Buckley was due to come out of contract at the end of this season.
Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.