Collingwood president and veteran media personality Eddie McGuire’s fiery on-air stoush with fellow reporter Sam McClure last week has prompted some introspection from fellow AFL writers.
McGuire and McClure were at odds over the reporting of a recent incident in which Geelong star Jack Steven was stabbed.
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Steven, who was not seriously injured, missed several games while playing for St Kilda in 2019 for mental health reasons.
Mystery surrounded the circumstances of the incident, prompting McGuire to be highly critical of modern reporters, who McLure defended.
While Steven himself has slipped out of the news cycle for the time being, other AFL reporters have continued to debate the ethics of reporting on such a story.
Footy Classified’s Damian Barrett and Craig Hutchison discussed the stoush on Tuesday night’s show - both siding with McGuire and arguing reporters should have asked more questions, in order for the story to be out to bed.
“It’s a simple question: “Jack, what happened?” - The question had to be asked in my eyes,” Barrett said.
“Even more so because two days prior to that Chris Scott his coach, who is a tremendously protective person when it comes to his players actually, in protecting Jack Steven said that the issue that Jack Steven was dealing with in that week was not at all linked to mental health, which he had gone public with in relatively recent times, so there was no reason not to ask that question.”
‘Owe him the opportunity’: Hutchison
Hutchison agreed, arguing that while he didn’t necessarily disagree with McClure’s preference not to ask pressing question’s about a player’s mental health, Steven was the one who deserved an opportunity to have his say.
“Did Jack actually say he didn’t want to talk about it? You kind of owe him the opportunity to talk about it, don’t you?” he asked.
“Theres a respectful way to ask it that’s not offensive and gives him one opportunity.
“Sometimes the player himself, or herself, actually wants to clarify and the easiest way to put things to bed is to give the sound bite for the news, take the steam out of it a little bit when you’ve had something to say.
“Equally, I respect Sam comes from things from a bit of a different angle. Let’s just cut everyone a little bit of slack for how they see the world I think at the moment.”