The AFL has, to no one’s surprise but James Hird, charged key Essendon people with bringing the game into disrepute.
It is a similar charge to that imposed upon Melbourne, where the events of tanking couldn’t be proved but the actions of being involved in them or considering them were seen as unsavoury.
However, I feel the AFL needs to go deeper into the entire concept of bringing the game into disrepute. Whilst clearly a highly subjective charge, there are numerous recent examples, shamefully ignored by the league.
In my humble opinion, these are incidents and events that have bought the game of AFL into disrepute, to have sullied the fine name of the game by their actions, and like Essendon, need to have their past actions reviewed, explained and, potentially, punished. If the AFL is at all serious about protecting their brand, encouraging people to stay interested in their product and ensure that the reputation of the sport is untarnished, then they owe it to supporters, stakeholders and sponsors to take a serious look at these cases of football notoriety, so far sadly and regretfully overlooked to the shame of the AFL.
If the AFL has any spine, courage and desire to protect the integrity of the sport they are charged with running, then a stand must be taken!
My brief list of those events that now need, Cold Case Style, to be investigated, for their impact on the game and its character, and for potentially bringing the game into disrepute, include:
Steven Kernaghan singing ‘Stand by your Man’ outside the pub in Parkville after the Blues GF win
Graeme Teasdale’s velvet suit from his Brownlow win
Hawthorn’s Kokoda jumper
Angry Anderson at the GF pre-game in the Batmobile
Richard Lounder and Richard Tambling’s draft selections by Richmond
Brian Wilson’s Brownlow
Danny Southern’s rat tail
All red carpet fashion specials before the Brownlow
The Etihad surface