If Eddie McGuire's mindless and zoned-out media moment taught us anything then surely the obvious lesson is that some individuals in this great game remain greater than the game itself.
Offering one's resignation has become something of a habit for club chiefs during this tumultuous and scandal-ridden AFL season, but there was no better bet than McGuire on Thursday winning the backing of his board and the endorsement of league chief Andrew Demetriou.
The AFL chief executive admitted he had spoken too soon in playing down the hurtful racist remark aimed at Adam Goodes on Triple M breakfast radio early on Wednesday, but the fact remained that Demetriou's default position was to defend McGuire.
Untouchable: Eddie McGuire. Photo: Ken Irwin
Collingwood will not suspend McGuire any more than Essendon will stand down James Hird. Had McGuire's name been Greg Westaway (St Kilda) or Steve Harris (Fremantle) he would have stepped down by now at the very least pending a racial vilification charge - which Demetriou confirmed for McGuire on Thursday.
Had Matthew Knights, not Hird, overseen the pharmacologically experimental program at Essendon, never adequately checked nor controlled and which still sees players not fully aware of what they have taken and facing bans from anti-doping authorities, then he would be finished.
But Hird is too big and has chosen to place himself above his club, believing himself now to be its saviour. Only the AFL has the strength to take on the Essendon legend but the prevailing view is that the league too remains beholden to the court of public opinion.
It must at the very least discipline McGuire. Goodes as it stood on Thursday had no intention of further mediation with the Collingwood president given the two had already spoken and McGuire's apology had been reluctantly accepted by the Swans champion.
Goodes told his coach he planned to play on Saturday and believes for now that he has said enough. Most people thought after last Saturday Goodes had said enough for his entire career. McGuire on the other hand has barely stopped talking since his hurtful comment.
If McGuire has escaped lightly in tangible terms, the same cannot be said for Matt Rendell, the former Adelaide recruiting chief who was sacked by the Crows 15 months ago following a private meeting with two AFL officials in which Rendell allegedly invoked a scenario in which only indigenous players with one white parent would be taken by clubs.
Rendell has always denied much of what was attributed to him as well as the tone of the conversation but he was sacked no sooner than the media exposed him.
McGuire has pointed to his strong history fighting indigenous causes; Rendell too could claim that. But he lost his job. That is how it is when you deeply offend members of a race that has been bullied and mistreated and discriminated against for two centuries now.
It is true that McGuire has been publicly pilloried and humiliated - although his discomfort was nothing compared with Goodes, who must continue to demonstrate leadership in a different form at the SCG on Saturday.
But surely the day draws nearer for the AFL to demonstrate the leadership the game expects of it and do so without discriminating against the lesser lights nor favouring the powerful.