Richmond's Jake King. Photo: Pat Scala
Richmond stands by its treatment of Jake King over the issue of mixing with former bikie gang boss Toby Mitchell - despite criticism from AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou - but says if Mitchell is invited to the club again, King faces the sack.
Tigers CEO Brendon Gale said King can still mix with Mitchell outside the club, but if he was again invited into the rooms, the consequences for King would be "a discussion about his job".
Gale said Richmond believed players should take responsibilities for their own lives and make their own choices.
"We prefer he doesn't mix with these sorts of people," Gale told the Channel Nine Footy Show. "But he's a strong-willed, not particularly impressionable fellow."
Gale took umbrage at Demetriou's hardline stance on the issue, saying the Tigers had taken the problem seriously and had discussed it with King. "I'm comfortable with the position we have taken with Jake," he said.
If Gale is thinking about applying for the role of AFL chief, he’s keeping that under his hat.
He said his thoughts were on the job at hand with the Tigers.Media reports have linked Gale with a possible run for the top job, following Demetriou’s announcement that 2014 will be his 11th and final season as league chief.
Demetriou’s deputy Gillon McLachlan is considered to be the frontrunner, but not a certainty, to take over next year.
‘‘I have been touted. It’s flattering that some people see me in that role,’’ Gale said.
‘‘But it’s not something that I’ve thought a lot about. Right now I’m very much focused on Richmond.
‘‘With Andrew confirming his position, there has been a lot of speculation.
‘‘There will continue to be a lot of speculation.
‘‘It’s something I haven’t thought a lot about and if I do at that stage, it’s something I probably wouldn’t comment on.’’
Like Demetriou, the highly regarded Gale is a former chief of the AFL Players’ Association.
Essendon great and prominent media commentator Matthew Lloyd says Gale should think strongly about putting his hand up.
‘‘He’d be a great CEO of the AFL,’’ Lloyd said after watching Gale’s interview.
‘‘He doesn’t want to put it out there because of his job at Richmond.
‘‘But I think he wants the job. That’s how I viewed that.’’