While this outcome remains unlikely, the continued implementation of bizarre tactics by the Hird camp, suggest it will likely end in tears for all involved.
The Essendon Football Club is well within its rights to ask for a ‘please explain’ following the infamous interview Tania Hird gave ABC 7:30 last week.
However, it must not fold to pressure and sack the embattled, suspended coach.
Granted, it has become clear the interests of Essendon and Hird have diverged, but the club cannot act irrationally. It would cause not only serious financial fallout and internal warfare, but it would ultimately derail a positive on-field start to the season – albeit, one with a small sample size – under interim coach Mark Thompson.
And, while another inescapable fact is Hird’s ABC appearance highlighted the heavy-handed boardroom tactics and rampant sexism within AFL media, it remains to be seen whether the bullying narrative will hold – especially considering the lofty reputations of those asserting institutional inappropriateness. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that all parties, at some stage in this ordeal, have either broken AFL conduct rules or have openly thumbed their nose at AFL authority.
Yet, despite its potential holes, the Hirds’ continue to persist with this notion of being the victims – bullied by a power far superior. It’s a concept that fails to accept any culpability for allowing a pharmacological experiment to occur at the club. Nor does it explain away evidence that drove ASADA to issue sports scientist Stephen Dank a ‘show cause’ letter, littered with numerous anti-doping violations.
For the most part, it appears the Hirds’ exist in a reality far different to our own.
The moment James Hird accepted his penalty, which he rightly received for his part in this fiasco, is the moment he needed to accept what he had done. It is clear even if he accepts a reprimand or a warning tomorrow, there is the still idea that he believes he and his family are hard done by.
Realistically, Hird seems to be of the belief receiving a million-dollar salary during his suspension, which will also see him undertake an “MBA at one of the world’s leading business schools, INSEAD (the European Institute of Business Administration)“, equates to him being victimised.
If this were anyone other than an beloved AFL icon, perhaps a CEO or board member at a company serving an in-house suspension or disciplinary action, the uproar would be enormous.
The Essendon Football Club must hold firm on the future of James Hird until ASADA’s outcome of its investigation into the clubs 2011/2012 supplement program is complete. And, while leading the club into this situation would most likely cause the termination of any senior coach at any other club, Essendon cannot buckle under the increasing pressure applied by Hird.
If Hird were eventually sacked as a result of Essendon being found guilty of doping offenses, the termination would – hopefully – void any pay-out or contract clauses. Ideally, it would prevent another legal distraction the Essendon Football Club does not want or need; if such a dark and realistic hypothetical arose in the near future.
Growing supporter discontent from a silent majority, which question Hird’s return to the club and stance in general, would reach fever point if Essendon gave into such tactics.
It might be to the betterment of all involved in the latest sordid chapter of this unfortunate affair, if the Hirds heeded their own advice regarding the tactics of bullying.