Suspended AFL Essendon Bombers coach James Hird outside his Toorak home. Photo: Penny Stephens
Suspended Essendon coach James Hird could lose his place in the ACT Sport Hall of Fame with the board to meet next week to discuss his status.
The board also wants to speak to the Brownlow Medal winner before making a decision on whether Hird still has a place among Canberra’s elite sportsmen and women.
The AFL suspended Hird for 12 months for his involvement in Essendon’s controversial supplements program in 2012.
Hird, an Ainslie junior, was one of six inductees to the Hall of Fame last year when ACT Sport recognised his achievements during his playing career.
But the ACT Sport board will review his status on September 5 and president Jim Roberts admitted the charges against Hird were of ‘‘great concern’’.
‘‘We need to analyse what the charges were and put it in context, but obviously it’s of great concern,’’ Roberts said.
‘‘It only happened [this week], we don’t want to hang him by the rafters.
‘‘We have to strike a balance between the status of the Hall of Fame and take James’ interest into account as well. We want all the facts and have a discussion with James before we make any decision.’’
AFL great Alex Jesaulenko - who along with squash legend Heather Mackay will be unveiled on Friday as the ACT’s athletes of the century - said Hird should remain in the ACT Hall of Fame and be remembered for his fantastic playing career.
‘‘He was a magnificent footballer,’’ Jesaulenko said.
‘‘He’s got enough nous, he speaks well and his family’s behind him, so he’ll bounce back.’’
Hird played in Ainslie’s 1990 premiership-winning team when he was 17 years old.
He has accepted some blame for Essendon’s supplement program, which has cost the club a $2 million fine and a place in the finals this season, but denied he broke any rules.
Canberra cyclist Stephen Hodge contacted ACT Sport officials and asked to be removed from the ACT Sport Hall of Fame last year after his confession to taking performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
The difference between Hird and Hodge is that Hird was inducted for his achievements as a player and his AFL suspension is because of his actions as a coach.
Hodge was inducted because of his performances during his career.
‘‘Hird is undoubtedly one of the legends of the game as an athlete and now he has transferred into the coaching ranks, they’re the issues we need to think about,’’ Roberts said.
‘‘We need to know all of the charges and everything that’s gone on ... it depends what applies across the board.
‘‘Stephen [Hodge] wrote us a letter and to his credit he made his own decision and we’d like to discuss all the facts with James.’’
ACT Sport will host its annual Hall of Fame induction lunch at The Tradies in Woden on Friday.
Former ACT Brumbies and Wallabies hooker Jeremy Paul will be joined by Bronwyn Calver (cricket), Miriam Manzano (ice skating), Siobhan Paton (swimming), Bob Mouatt (orienteering) and Frank Cleary (racing) as new inductees.
ACT Sport also plans to recognise Canberra’s 100th birthday by inducting Jesaulenko and McKay as the athletes of the century.
‘‘This is very, very special, I’m going to cherish this award forever,’’ Jesaulenko said.
‘‘I’d like to also congratulate Heather McKay, she’s a champion and a worthy recepient of this award.’’
with Lee Gaskin