Eddie McGuire has staunchly defended his calls for those to breach the AFL’s hub rules to be individually fined and sent home, after said comments blew up in his face when Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley was found to have broken the rules.
The Magpies president said his comments were ‘completely being misconstrued, as usual’ when asked about the incident on Triple M breakfast radio on Monday morning.
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The AFL fined Collingwood $50,000, with half of it suspended, after Buckley and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson met with two people from outside the AFL’s WA hub for a tennis match - one of whom was former Australian champion Alicia Molik.
Buckley and Sanderson both offered to stump up for the fine, but McGuire found himself on the back foot when asked how his earlier statement’s matched up with the actions of two senior members of his staff.
McGuire dismissed criticism of his comments as ‘standard procedure’ before saying he stood by his arguments about personal responsibility.
“Let me just clear this up once and for all - my position going into the Covid-19 in society and very much in the AFL football world - we had to be very careful,” he said.
“I have Gillon McLachlan, I have Richard Goyder, I sit on these committees and I hear first hand what goes on and how we have to go about it.
“When I’m asked my opinion I give my opinion.
“My opinion has been that we needed to go very hard as far as what the sanctions would be and that people had to have personal responsibility.”
Eddie McGuire defends virus comments after Magpies breach
McGuire would go on to argue that the AFL should have made the consequences for any potential breaches much clearer to clubs, players and families on the hub.
“The AFL put a 16 page document out saying here’s what you don’t do - it needs a 17th page saying here’s what happens if you do,” he said.
“The AFL came out last week and said to us that they were going to fine the clubs. It’s not the club’s fault in these situations, you can only tell people as much as you possibly can and from that moment on it becomes the person’s personal responsibility.
“What I would do is this, I would’ve had a sanction that was there for everybody to see. Whatever that point is.”
— Offsiders ABC (@OffsidersABC) August 2, 2020
It was inevitable when Eddie McGuire made those comments about sending hub breachers home that the Pies would have an incident. I didn't think it would happen within 24 hours though. #AFL
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) August 1, 2020
McGuire came under fire earlier this year for saying he was ‘proud’ of the way Collingwood midfielder Steele Sidebottom had reacted after being found drunk in the street by police after breaching coronavirus restrictions, and he said the same of the way Buckey and Sanderson had owned up to their own transgressions.
“Again, I’m proud they’ve done that (paid the fine) just as I was proud of the way Steele Sidebottom accepted his four weeks and got on with it,” McGuire said.
“I wasn’t proud with what he did in the first place, but proud of the way he responded to the situation.
“I would’ve been far tougher in society on people who transgressed and I would’ve been far tougher on people in the AFL society who transgressed.
“The AFL then said no, we will do these things and these are the sanction penalties and now I support them 100 per cent.”