AFL 360 host Gerard Whateley says those who booed Scott Pendlebury after Collingwood’s controversial Anzac Day win over Essendon “didn’t live the national character that we believe is part of Anzac.”
Pendlebury copped a furious reaction from a heaving Essendon-dominated MCG crowd after the Magpies prevailed by four points in a scintillating clash.
In all likelihood, Pendlebury was just in the wrong place at the wrong time given Bombers fans had earlier directed their ire at the umpires.
But Nathan Buckley was in no mood for excuses after Pendlebury’s words were drowned out while accepting a record-equalling third Anzac Medal.
“Shame on anyone that booed a champion,” Buckley said over the loud speaker.
‘Didn’t live the national character’
The AFL community has been left appalled in the aftermath, with the fact it occurred on Anzac Day and was directed at the Anzac medallist causing the most issue.
“It was just so jarring that it happened as part of Anzac Day. It shows that a lot of people who talk about it, profess to be apart of it, don’t honour that,” Whateley said on AFL 360 after the game.
“They don’t honour the very words that were spoken as the medal was bestowed.
“Those people who booed didn’t live those words, they didn’t live the national character that we believe is part of Anzac, nor footy’s place in it.
“It’s an honour for football to be part of something that’s greater … but to witness the last five minutes, it will last with me for all the wrong reasons.”
Co-host Mark Robinson called it “Essendon’s shame.”
“And then when Scott Pendlebury, who’s a true champion of the game … for him to get awarded the medal and the Essendon crowd to boo him so that no-one could hear him. I just shook my head and thought, where are we going, what is happening?
“This was Collingwood’s day and this was Essendon’s shame.”
‘You’re allowed to boo’
On the flip-side, Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton defended fans’ right to boo.
“Football’s a game where people earn their money each week, and it’s very valuable to them, and they spend a great portion of it going to the footy. And they get great theatre out of it,” he said.
“And if you barrack for a team, ie Essendon, and you pay your money, as long as you’re not racially motivated, politically motivated, politically incorrect or engaging in the marginalised and really giving it to them, you’re allowed to boo I reckon.
“Everyone loves their team – everyone on the opposition is a villain. It’s like a stage show – the villains win, you boo them.”
However it all came back to the fact it occurred on Anzac Day.
“It’s a cherished day, entrusted to Essendon and Collingwood,” Whateley said.
“We talk about sacrifice, mateship, fair play, but then the moment when the Anzac medal is presented is greeted in a foul manner.
“Today is different.”
AFL great Matthew Richardson called the ugly scenes a ‘disgrace’.
Couldn’t believe my ears on the ground as @SP_10 was booed accepting the medal today…..and while he attempted to speak. Have some respect for an absolute champion . Disgrace
— Matthew Richardson (@mattricho0) April 25, 2019
We all know the booing was directed at the umpires ffs. But Essendon fans decided to try and hijack the medal ceremony to voice their opinion through booing. But the medal ceremony is an ANZAC MEDAL PRESENTATION! A time to reflect and respect past and present ANZACS.
— Jack Dawson (@jcd___7) April 25, 2019
— Eat a dick, gravity (@gumbuoy) April 25, 2019