It is more than a little disconcerting that many in the football media, having accepted Essendon’s guilt in the absence of evidence, proceed to endorse and proudly boast about the AFL’s assumed power to pervert the course of justice.

The matter of guilt or innocence is a distraction. For the sake of argument guilt is assumed. Essendon took banned drugs, and Hird was the architect. There is no proof of either the act, or a credible link to the alleged guilty party, but for our purposes it can be taken as read.

Patrick Smith, today, once again claimed for Hird’s head before concluding with this final thought:

‘If he had taken his punishment with good grace, accepted his lot, he would be a richer man to day [sic] and with a coaching job to return to. For one of the first times in a famous career, Hird has been hopelessly outplayed.’

Setting aside the loathsome notion that Hird’s reputation and livelihood – and the fate of his club and players – is merely a game played in opposition to the AFL, his stance is clear.

Smith believes that had a man guilty of overseeing a doping regime acquiesced to the establishment, he and his team would have been spared the full consequences.

That is a staggering admission one would think prudent to keep off the record, yet it is publicly announced in print. Or at least it would be a staggering admission, were it not already acknowledged and accepted by the majority of the public.

Likewise, Caroline Wilson has written numerous pieces claiming ‘it didn’t have to be this way’. If Hird had rolled over the saga would have concluded last year.

Eddie McGuire has voiced the same sentiments repeatedly, ‘just shut up’ and it will go away.

In each case their stance is clear and it is not one limited to a few, it is an attitude adopted by most critics of Essendon and defenders of the AFL.

Something is clearly afoot.

How can the situation exist whereby influential figures can publicly pronounce that corporate corruption can and should rule, and that the guilty can be protected provided they ‘play the game’?

The saga itself remains poised where it was months earlier. Today’s court case was merely an attempt to end the saga quickly. Nothing has changed and the outcome remains uncertain.

The only certainties are that the media figures the majority rely on to provide them their information are not fit to do so, and the people whose tactics they endorse are not fit to govern. The latter attempt to execute cover-ups, while the former defend the practice.

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