AFL great Dermott Brereton has slammed Port Adelaide chairman David Koch for being a "bully" and says the TV personality showed the game his "worst side" when he hit out at Mick Malthouse.
Coaching legend Malthouse last week urged the AFL to boycott China because of the country's handling of the coronavirus crisis.
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It prompted Koch to insinuate Malthouse's stance bordered on racist, with the Power chairman reaffirming his club's commitment to the AFL's foray into China in a scathing response.
“If Mick Malthouse made a comment on footy I'd give it a glancing look (but) when it comes to China, absolutely zero relevance whatsoever,” Koch said.
“If it was up to Mick Malthouse, he'd bring back the White Australia policy.”
Speaking on Fox Footy Live, Brereton said Koch had overstepped the line and shown the AFL community an unflattering side of himself.
“We saw light and shade. We saw the best and worst of Kochie on the weekend,” Brereton said.
“He’s a fantastic bloke, he’s wonderful for our entire community of football, he can give us that sort of light, but I was really disappointed in his comments on Mick and pressed him during his comments on Mick about the White Australia policy.
“He can turn into a bully, that’s his worst side, he can turn into a verbal bully on TV.”
Brereton said one only needed to look at Malthouse's track record with Indigenous players and those from other cultures to realise he's racially and culturally inclusive.
“Mick has been nothing short of brilliant to new Australians, to Indigenous people,” Brereton added.
“He made Paul Licuria, a first generation Italian-immigrant, the vice-captain of his club and captained his team many times.
“The Rocca brothers... he has such a great track record of literally fathering a lot of these guys.
“Remember when ‘Licca’ (Licuria) cried on his shoulder? His love for those players has been outstanding.”
Brereton's remarks echoed those of Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, who insists Koch went “200 steps too far” in his attack on Malthouse.
“One of the things I deplore is as soon as anyone’s got a different point of view is to be called racist, misogynistic, boys’ club, anything like that,” McGuire said on Triple M.
“All the sort of stuff that goes on now, if you’ve got a different point of view or even if you've got a slightly different point of view the pile on just comes straight up.
“I can tell you straight up that Mick Malthouse, there’s not a racist bone in Mick Malthouse’s body and he’s a broad-thinking man.
“He has done so much to look after indigenous Australians and indigenous footballers and players from all walks of life.
“He’s very generous man when it comes to people who come from lower socio-economic backgrounds from all sorts of areas who come into the club whether they could read or write or they were geniuses, all those types of things.
Mick Malthouse’s comments on China
In an article that appeared in the Herald Sun, Malthouse said continuing to play matches at Shanghai's Jiangwan Stadium, which the league has done annually since 2017, was “the last thing” the AFL should do.
Malthouse took offence to Koch’s remarks and clarified he did not have an issue with Chinese people.
Instead, his gripe specifically relates to the Chinese government.
“I'm very disappointed in a bloke like David Koch for those remarks (which) are very, very offline for a start,” Malthouse told ABC Grandstand WA.
“Quite frankly, (he is) a man who's made a decision for his football club to take the money.
“I've been called a 'dinosaur' before, that's water off a duck's back. I've also made football comments before and some are right and some are wrong.”
Malthouse added he “gets on famously” with some people of Chinese descent in his extended family.
"It was the way it has come to the world, the way it has tried to be hidden by a communist regime,” he said.