Monday, 24 February 2014

Lessons Learnt?- Redux

Two weeks ago, we posted about how Essendon and Adelaide seem not to have learnt from their terrible 2013 pre-season of scandal, by setting the 2014 pre-season off with flights of fancy that should not have left the club boardroom.

And while we have been concentrating on our own preparations for 2014, we have missed another organisation that has also lost any learning from 2013. An organisation that attempted to manage it own image, even when beyond its reach.

Side Tracking
It took Patrick Smith's summation to realise our missed opportunity.
AFL's phony war on Jake King a pyrrhic victory that proves their hypocrisy
Last week, when the AFL put Demetriou on show for state-of-the-league pre-season interviews with the media, the footy boss and his boffins of misdirection knew they needed a distraction. A week spent talking about the incompetent and embarrassing ending of the AFL commission's investigation into Essendon's supplement scandal was to be avoided at all costs. So kaboom. Jake King's cost, as it has turned out.
Exactly, Patrick. A silly sideshow of a distraction, up there with the Essendon '05.02.14' deflection.
Image via Sportal
A way of baiting a complicit, embedded media who are more interested in ensuring they retain access to week-in-week-out footy, than to actually tackling real issues head on.
Last week, Demetriou banged on like this: "My counsel to Richmond would be I think you do have a role to play in saying to your players who you should and shouldn't associate with," he self-righteously lectured the media. "And I think that Jake King should seriously consider who he associates with and not put at risk the reputation of his club or put himself in a vulnerable position.
So the media chomped the bone, gnawed away at it, barked a lot and scratched itself silly and finally dug a hole deep enough for the AFL to hide its catastrophic final handling of the Essendon inquiry. Then, dare we say, the media all but licked its Sherrins.
This is what the AFL wanted. The media went that-a-way, while the real story went the other. Demetriou was not held to account why he mislead the football public over Essendon doctor Bruce Reid's fate. The doc was cleared. Or why Essendon coach James Hird was suspended with a small fortune in pay when Demetriou was adamant that would not happen. Not to mention, of course, that somehow the AFL had to rely on the clandestine negotiating of John Wylie, chairman of the Australian Sports Commission, to get any sort of resolution to the Essendon shemozzle.
Indeed... so many issues that the football media should be dogging the AFL Executive over, but instead they chase a rubber bone in the Jake King / Toby Williams 'story'.
Patrick goes on to highlight how;
      - the AFL were welcoming of Richard Pratt as Carlton President. The same Mr Pratt known as overseeing a price fixing cartel.
      - the AFL also tout Stephen Trigg as a potential CEO to clubs in crisis. Mr Trigg, known to have been CEO at Adelaide when he colluded to rort the salary cap and draft system with a new contract for Kurt Tippett.

Which would have you wondering why it is not OK to associate with a bikie gang member, but perfectly OK to have executives who have been found cheating systems, at the helms of your clubs?

And while Andrew Demetriou is also railing against AFL staff liaising with untoward figures, how would he like to ask Mick Malthouse to reconsider his weekly 'tactics talk' with Geoffrey Edelsten?
The same Dr Edelsten who is known to have perverted the course of justice [PDF] and was a known associate of Christoper Dale Flannery (aka Mr. Rent-a-Kill)?

Because, as AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou says...
"We have intelligence that people are trying to infiltrate the game and some of them are not nice people and jeopardise the integrity of the game," Demetriou said."
... but he might be interested to consider if this has already happened or not.

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