Gary Ablett wins the AFL 2013 Brownlow Medal with the last vote of the night at a glittering event at the Crown Casino. Photo: Pat Scala
Here is an executive summary of the messages put out by the AFL this week.
Supplements are the root of all evil, except if they are made by the sponsor of the Brownlow Medal red carpet, in which case they must be - wink, wink - good for your body, even if that sponsor itself has had a run-in with a regulatory authority this year over claims of producing an everlasting glow of good health.
Alcohol abuse is a serious and ongoing problem in football - most acutely obvious in this season of mad Mondays - but please indulge this Brownlow night segment in which four medallists sit around a table, ostensibly to talk about the good old days, in fact to feature in lots of soft-focus shots of them pouring drinks, sipping drinks and pouring more drinks, also dreamy cutaways of idle drinking vessels.
Oh, yes, and two shots of them picking at a meal, the same mouthful twice, the way drinkers do.
Betting, if not massively policed, stands to destroy professional sport, including the AFL, whose integrity department will monitor the movement of every last cent, but in the meantime, here in the middle of the Brownlow Medal coverage are a handful of gratuitous updates by our corporate bookmaker, which can't be for information's sake - since they blare out only the bleeding obvious - and so can only be to habituate viewers to the idea of turning everything into a bet, and when that loses, into another, just the way the fixers like it.
It was almost enough to cause one to pine for the return of tomandmom.com
Respect between fans is paramount in our game, which is why a Carlton cheer squad's round-two banner welcoming Mick Malthouse from ''the club of scum to club No.1'' was promptly and indignantly confiscated by authorities the moment it was unfurled, only to fly again in the Brownlow night package, because now it was no longer an affront, but a season highlight, reprising the way the league used to say how terrible cowardly king hits were and its broadcaster kept showing them ad infinitum to prove it.
Scalping is a scourge, and all you ticketless Fremantle supporters should stay away from Melbourne so that you are not tempted, because we will have spies around every Yarra Park corner and behind every pixel of social media, and will be coming down like a tonne of bricks on anyone selling five or fewer tickets on the sly and ripping off authentic fans …
Because we have people who - by throwing in a barely palatable ''meal'' and a bit of spurious ''entertainment'' - can sell many more tickets at a time for vastly higher prices, to people who couldn't give a rat's about Hawthorn or Fremantle, but know that going is good for business, and so will again turn the grand final into the most soul-less match of the series, in terms of atmosphere, and the coffers will overflow again.
You might start to forgive the mix-up in these messages on the grounds that the AFL is huge, and left and right hand might not always know what the other is doing, except that in this town it would be impossible for left or right football hands to act in isolation from the other, and on Brownlow night all hands were in the same place at the same time, and passed a few late-night drinks from one to the other without it occurring to any of them that they had spent the night and the season subliminally contradicting themselves …
You might remember that Brownlow night is not merely football's showbiz, but, as we are told importantly at the start every year, is a formally convened meeting of the AFL Commission.
You might start to think that hypocrisy is alive and well and living somewhere between Docklands and Crown.