Tim Watson 'offensive and completely wrong'
AFL chief Andrew Demetriou has labelled comments made by Tim Watson regarding punishment for Essendon as 'offensive and completely wrong'.PT1M55S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2reof 620 349 August 7, 2013
In a now familiar morning ritual, Essendon coach James Hird has told reporters he will not be resigning.
Hird was met by a large media contingent upon arrival at Windy Hill just before 8am.
In his element: Essendon coach James Hird during closed training at Windy Hill. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
He said the club's reaction to the Australian Anti-Drug Agency interim report into its controversial supplements program was now "all about the players" and "when they're cleared we'll go through the rest of it".
Hird said he had heard what is in the report, but not seen it. Lawyers for sacked sports scientist Stephen Dank and estranged conditioning coach Dean Robinson have expressed concern at Hird receiving access to the document before their clients.
Late Wednesday night, the Bombers also tweeted an assurance to their fans that the revered leader would not be standing down, in an attempt to address rumours in social media.
Closed training at Windy Hill. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Reports tonight that coach James Hird will stand down are not true.— Essendon FC (@Essendon_FC) August 7, 2013
That followed a statement addressed to Essendon members from new club chairman Paul Little, released at 9pm on the club's website and Fox Footy program The Hangar, which did not mention James Hird, but asserted the club's confidence that players "haven’t done anything wrong in relation to performance-enhancing drugs".
The Essendon statement:
"As you are now aware, the Essendon Football Club has received the ASADA interim report from the AFL.
"The club is currently reviewing the report and working through the next steps of the process to reach an outcome as a priority.
"Our primary consideration in this process has always been the welfare of our players. This hasn't changed.
"At this stage, I can’t tell you unequivocally what the outcome of this process will be, but the club remains confident our players haven’t done anything wrong in relation to performance-enhancing drugs.
"Importantly, our message to the players and coaches this week has been to focus on the footy. The administration and management will continue to work as hard as we can to ensure natural justice is served and our rights are being protected at all times during this process.
"Finally, thank you for your support and unwavering loyalty. The passion and support for the club from our members is heartening and greatly appreciated by us all.
"I hope to see you all at the game on Sunday – and don’t forget to bring your scarf!"
- Paul Little
Another prominent football identity took to the airwaves Thursday morning to deny a media report. AFLPA chief executive Matt Finnis rejected claims he had "guaranteed" Port Adelaide's Angus Monfries that he would be free to play finals. Monfries was at Essendon last season when the supplement regime was in full swing.
"We're not in a position to make any guarantees to anyone ..." Finiss said.
Stephen Dank, the sacked sports scientist at the centre of the row, made an ominous vow.
"There will be plenty of legal action flowing, don't you worry about that," Dank said Thursday morning.
Perennial AFL critic Jeff Kennett weighed into the crisis once more on Thursday morning.
The Hawthorn president labelled the AFL as a "law unto itself" whose officials were more interested in putting protecting themselves before the good of the game.
Kennett and AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou have been engaged in a running war of words and Kennett launched another attack during his regular spot on radio station 3AW.
Discussing the possible ramifications of the Essendon drugs probe, Kennett called for the public release of the ASADA interim report and Bombers-commissioned Ziggy Switkowski investigation into the controversial supplements regime.
"It’s criminal not to do so," Kennett said.
The former Victorian premier also questioned the motives of the AFL.
"What’s the difference between the Australian government and the AFL? The Australian government is answerable to the people every three years, the AFL is answerable to no-one," Kennett said.
"They are a law unto themselves and I can assure you for them to be charging Essendon with bringing the game into disrepute, when the AFL through its actions has been inconsistent, they also have brought the code into disrepute."
"I think it is just a farce. There is no authority that the AFL answers to at all and I promise you this, they will protect themselves, their individual reputations and their collective reputations rather than necessarily applying the law equally to all."
The AFL Commission has the power to charge Essendon and any of its officials with bringing the game into disrepute, regardless of whether individual players or coaches face infraction notices for use of banned substances.
- with Stathi Paxinos