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McGuire explains King Kong 'slip of the tongue'

"I wasn't even thinking," says Collingwood president Eddie McGuire after apologising to Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes over his King Kong comment made on live radio.

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While Eddie McGuire is the man in the hot seat on this occasion, there could yet be collateral damage on the field as well as off it.

The fallout from his inappropriate comments about Adam Goodes could affect Nathan Buckley, for the Magpies coach must now deal with another major issue that has already distracted at least one of his key players.

Buckley will need to ensure Harry O'Brien's mindset is now solely on Friday night's crucial clash against the Brisbane Lions. On Wednesday, it was purely on McGuire.

''I'm extremely disappointed with Eddie's comments and do not care what position he holds,'' O'Brien tweeted. Whack. When was the last time you heard a player say that about his president?

The pair appeared on Fox Footy to talk through their differences and seemed to be on friendly enough terms. But a hallmark of the Magpies' 2010 premiership under Mick Malthouse was the ability to escape unwanted headlines.

In 2010, McGuire made a conscious decision to keep as low a profile as possible, for he did not want the club's focus to veer from its primary aim - securing a flag. Mission accomplished. A year later and the handover from Malthouse to Buckley, with McGuire wedged in the middle, was clearly a distraction as the Magpies lost to Geelong in the grand final.

Buckley is already dealing with several issues. Injuries have decimated his list and several key operators are out of form. Former Sydney coach Paul Roos has even questioned what ''brand'' the team stands for on the field.

And there has been a minor tiff between Dale Thomas and Darren Jolly over the latter's Fairfax Media column about his poor relationship with former Collingwood ruckman Josh Fraser.

Then, in a bid to avoid controversy, club chief executive Gary Pert confirmed Buckley had asked Dayne Beams to delete an angry tweet about Justin Koschitzke's off-the-ball hit on Magpie Jamie Elliott this month.

Buckley, in conjunction with consultants Leading Teams, has worked to extract greater off-field discipline from players, who had been given more freedom under Malthouse. The so-called Brat Pack have been taught some tough lessons - just ask Dane Swan and, this week, Heath Shaw, who Buckley says is one of a few players whose skinfolds are not as they should be.

Suddenly, a bigger storm, involving one of the most prominent names in the country, has enveloped his club.

Buckley must quickly get his men to refocus, otherwise a season that promised so much will hang in the balance.