It’s a common occurrence in the sporting world - someone says something incredibly stupid/insensitive/outrageous/harmful etc. A cookie cutter apology is issued, and everyone usually moves on.
Some scandals drift quietly into the night. But others? They continue to pop and fizz, gathering momentum with every news item, official statement, and talkback caller.
The Eddie McGuire/Caroline Wilson issue appears to be one that isn’t going away - and so it shouldn’t.
McGuire made the offensive and not-at-all-funny comment about ‘drowning’ journalist Wilson on Monday June 13. A week later, the discussion is still fierce, with the issue still picking up steam.
(A reminder, that his ‘joke’ came the same weekend the AFL held a White Ribbon match for domestic violence awareness, and only days before Collingwood was awarded a women’s team.)
The AFL released a statement late on Sunday, which many have slammed.
Rhett Bartlett, the son of Richmond legend Kevin Bartlett, made some necessary edits to the statement.
McGuire then issued an ‘apology’ of his own saying his comments were in the ‘spirit of the day’ - the day being a fundraiser for Motor Neurone Disease, and has rightly been ripped on.
While he admitted the comments were ‘unacceptable’ he’s also been at pains to say they were in the spirit of the day. It sounds a lot like: “I’m sorry if you were offended…” or “I’m sorry you don’t understand that I was joking.”
Even Collingwood fans, notorious for their blind faith in McGuire, are dusting their hands of this one.
Wilson herself rejected the ‘apology’.
And football commentator Francis Leach outlined the gravity of domestic violence.
While one Twitter user pointed out that McGuire’s language sets the tone in the football community.
Others noted that a forced apology doesn’t constitute an apology at all.
Say what you like about social media, but in this case, it’s been an important tool to ensure McGuire is being held to account and not let off the hook lightly.
A shining light in all the controversy? Zela couldn’t find a single tweet in support of McGuire. Seems some people do know when to keep their mouth shut.
Actually, he does have one supporter, who has thankfully not tweeted about the incident yet.