HEAVY CRITICISM: Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.
HEAVY CRITICISM: Collingwood president Eddie McGuire. TRACEY NEARMY

McGuire under fire for drowning comments

AFL: Caroline Wilson has hit back at Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, saying she did not believe the “drowning” comments directed at her were “jokey or banter”.

McGuire, North Melbourne president James Brayshaw and former St Kilda captain Danny Frawley apologised to the chief football writer for The Age after “making jokes” last Monday on radio about the prospect of Wilson having her own slide for the next Big Freeze at the MCG – a fundraiser for motor neurone disease – and being drowned.

“I’ll put in 10 grand straight away, make it 20. And if she stays under, 50. What do you reckon guys?” McGuire said.

McGuire played down the conversations as “banter”, while AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan condemned the comments but said an apology was sufficient and no further punishment was neccessary.

But Wilson wrote in a column in The Age that she did not accept the “vile” remarks as “banter”.

“It took me back to the old days of The Footy Show when the former host and Collingwood president would line me up in an occasionally vile and foul-mouthed way and enlist his colleagues in a series of sexist gang tackles,” she wrote.

Wilson said that in a recent column she questioned whether McGuire should put an end date on his nearly 20-year presidency.

“I have no doubt that he was angry that I suggested he start thinking about a succession plan after almost two decades in the job,” she wrote.

“I really wish he would adopt more decent, conventional ways of dealing with criticism and perceived disloyalty.

“This sort of sexist nonsense has long been an acceptable part of his occasionally violent vernacular but I don’t accept that it’s jokey or banter.”

Frawley apologised, while Brayshaw said yesterday his comments were “inappropriate” and “unacceptable”.

“I offer my sincere, unreserved and unqualified apology,” Brayshaw told Triple M.

“Respect for women and their role in football, and indeed in our society, is of vital importance, and as leaders we need to be very aware of this.”

McLachlan told reporters people might have believed the radio talk might have been perceived as banter in the past but now such comments could not be tolerated.

“It’s not good enough,” he said.

“We can’t say that we as an industry are committed to making and leading change if we don’t step up and call it out.”

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