AFL

David Schwarz says Garry Lyon situation is a 'tragedy'

Former Demon David Schwarz has described as a "tragedy" the situation between Garry Lyon and his close friend Bill Brownless, as Lyon steps aside from his media duties due to mental illness.

The long-running friendship between Lyon and Brownless apparently broke down after Brownless reportedly discovered a relationship between his ex-wife, Nicky, and Lyon.

Garry Lyon off air to deal with 'mental health' issues

Footy Show host Garry Lyon has been stood down indefinitely to be treated for mental illness. (Video courtesy Seven News Melbourne)

Brownless and Lyon have worked together for at least 15 years. The two families had also been close, with Brownless' former wife, Nicky, and Lyon's wife, Melissa, close friends.

The Lyons reportedly had an amicable separation about 18 months ago.

Garry Lyon and David Schwarz in their playing days at Melbourne.
Garry Lyon and David Schwarz in their playing days at Melbourne. 

Brownless is understood to be rocked by the situation, and believes his friendship with Lyon is all but over.

It is understood that Lyon is battling depression.

"It's a tragedy for a number of reasons," Schwarz, a former teammate of Lyon's, told SEN radio on Monday morning.

"Because now two families are torn apart, we've got two blokes that are best mates … unfortunately great relationships are now probably ruined forever."

Schwarz, who has battled a gambling addiction in the past, said that Lyon had been the go-to man at Melbourne for other players who were going through issues.

"To go back 10 years when I went through a heap of issues, Garry was the one I'd go to ... he was very direct and honest," he said.

But Schwarz said the difference in Lyon in the past year and a half had been noticeable. He said former teammates had noticed that Lyon had been "absent" when he had formerly been "very available".

"It was concerning for a lot of teammates," he said, adding that they felt "let down" at times.

"He's actually angered a lot of his ex-teammates because he just hasn't returned calls and been very aloof, which is very unlike Garry.

"In light of what we know now, there was obviously a fair bit going on.

"Whether it's his mental health or the circumstances that got him to that point, it's been weighing him down."

Schwarz said that Lyon had been there for his former club in the past, and called on Melbourne to rally in return.

"For Melbourne people I know they'll rally – they've had a shocking time and a lot of issues in the last couple of years and Garry's been pivotal to all of them," he said.

"Whether it's been Troy Broadbridge, Jimmy Stynes or debacles of selections of coaches – it's time people get around Billy and Garry to help get their families through this shocking time where poor decisions have been made."

Lyon will step down from his media duties with no timeframe for his return. In his absence, James Brayshaw will host Channel Nine Footy Show alone. Damian Barrett will step in for Lyon on Footy Classified. 

Lyon will also stop providing a weekly column for The Saturday Age during his recovery.

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