It Is Not About James Hird

Define ‘predictable’: The media’s response to the latest revelations in the AFL’s corruption case.

More explosive allegations were aired on Thursday night’s 7.30 on the ABC:

  • Stephen Amendola, lawyer for James Hird, exposed the ‘complete failure of process’ within the AFL’s so called ‘investigation’ into Essendon. They had no case, only threats.
  • Former Victorian premier and former Hawthorn president, Jeff Kennett, derided the ‘closed circle of individuals protecting themselves against scrutiny and against transparency’ within the AFL.
  • Kennett also revealed bribes the AFL offered the Hawthorn Football Club.
  • Chip Le Grand, of The Australian newspaper, was publicly slandered and ridiculed by outgoing CEO, Andrew Demetriou, for daring to report facts.
  • Le Grand discussed threats from the AFL to journalists, including the denial of accreditation to the Herald Sun’s Michael Warner.
  • Chris Pollard, lawyer for the late Dean Bailey, highlighted the absurdity of the non-tanking/tanking affair, in which Dean Bailey and the Melbourne Football Club were forced to accept a punishment despite being found not guilty of an undefined crime.

The report also alluded to several officials within the industry who had similar stories but were afraid to go on the record. It then highlighted the fact the AFL were similarly scared to face public scrutiny when they refused an interview.

This fear of transparency is a common theme. The league were prepared to destroy a foundational club with an unethical and non-factual media war to prevent the case reaching an open and fair court.

Despite this list of severe misconduct perpetrated by the AFL, the media has once again shifted the focus solely onto Hird.

It is not about Hird, but foreseeing these tactics did not require a crystal ball.

Obviously an industry entangled in multimillion dollar media rights contracts would continue with their pro-administration bias, but there is another reason.

None of the other ‘revelations’ were, in fact, news. They are old stories. Every objective observer knows the depths of the AFL’s corruption and is well aware of the incidents above, and many more for that matter.

The media ignored all facts and instead speculated on Hird’s imminent sacking. His 43rd alleged sacking in the last 12 months by my count.

All of this based not on anything Hird had done, he is out of the country, but on the words of his wife.

What kind of world do we live in, in which a man can be punished for failing to silence his wife? This is shameful proposition, regardless of the content she contributed to the program.

Tania Hird alleged the AFL ‘tipped-off’ Essendon about the investigation. This is a known fact so it occupies the category above; the evidence the media are afraid to acknowledge.

Her secondary revelation was that making her husband a scapegoat was a ‘non-negotiable’ in the AFL’s predetermined punishments. Hird’s predestined fate was explicitly articulated to all parties, and reported in the media at the time.

Apparently restating public information is an outrage when the authorities are attempting to control information and protect their image, so their media change the subject. It is nothing but a diversion, a distraction. This is not about James Hird.

To ignore all of the above and instead focus on Hird demonstrates the systemic corruption of all stakeholders within the AFL industry.

An independent investigator, citing several cases and sources, exposes an organisation as a corporate bully that uses intimidation and inducements to orchestrate their desired outcomes and suppress the truth. And the villain, of course, is a business scholar in France.

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  1. Eddie McGuire: Pride in Corruption | scarcesense
  2. Fact & Theory: A Challenge to the AFL/Media | scarcesense

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