opinion

Collingwood's support of Eddie McGuire sends a very clear message.

In a game that’s essentially based around the quick-thinking tactics of men, it’s hardly surprising there has been no major repercussions for Eddie McGuire following his violent comments about journalist Caroline Wilson.

Sure, there was an upgrade of his non-apology to an actual apology, but in terms of real action that might actually serve as a lasting lesson for him? Nothing.

After saying he’d pay $50,000 to see a woman held under water until she stopped breathing, Eddie McGuire is still the host of a popular radio show, still a television program host, and as of Tuesday night, still an Australian Football League club president.

eddie mcguire caroline wilson

Source: Getty.

When McGuire was summoned to meet with the Collingwood Football Club's board on Tuesday night, it soon became evident that like many other major AFL scandals (particularly those involving Collingwood), this too was set to be swept under the rug, managed via media releases and carefully-worded language that ensures the public that lessons have been learned and change is on its way.

In a statement released following the meeting, the club said, “The board accepted Eddie McGuire’s unreserved apology for inappropriate on-air comments he made last week. It also expressed its complete and ongoing support for his position as president. The board and the club take the matters raised by these comments seriously.”

Eddie McGuire's second apology. Post continues after video.

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What that statement says implicitly is this: there's one set of rules for everyone else and another if you're a senior male figure within the AFL.

If you're an AFL supporter and are heard making racist remarks at a game, you'll be escorted from the stadium. If you're a football president, though, you're fine.

If you're a man condoning violence to the point of finding comedic glee in the idea of it, your views do not have a place in modern society. If you're the president of a club, though, a simple video apology mentioning Rosie Batty's name will do.

eddie mcguire caroline wilson

Eddie McGuire made comments about Caroline Wilson following a charity event. Source: Getty.

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The problem with supporting someone who has a history of making inexcusable remarks is that people listen and are spirited on by them. Allowing it makes you complicit. It makes you an accessory in supporting the very things the AFL says it is working to eradicate.

And while a lot of people have suggested that no one would have cared if McGuire's comments were about another man and not a woman, that's not the point. They were about a woman. They were endorsing violence. And they were made by a person whose comments carry weight.

McGuire has worked in the public for long enough to know that his words have power. And if he honestly doesn't know that after 18 years at the helm of a major football club, maybe Caroline Wilson had a point when she raised the topic of his succession.

Caroline Wilson. Source: still/Youtube

Yes, it would be a lot to lose, but those are the odds you're playing with when you have so much to begin with.

Sometimes the only real way to learn a lesson is by making the mistake in the first place. But it's far from the first time the mistake has been made. When it comes to outdated and offensive comments, McGuire is a repeat offender.

By deciding to accept his standard, the board are doing a disservice to itself and the game it's trying to make more inclusive.

Featured image: Getty

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