As December has rolled in, it’s the season for Christmas trees to go up and cheer to be shared. However, it seems that with the Adelaide and Kurt Tippett scandal coming to a close, a certain media grinch has become bored with that situation and is looking for a new scandal to get us through to the NAB Cup.
Collingwood superstar and 2011 Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan has become the centre of controversy after an article published by Fairfax Media claimed that Collingwood CEO Gary Pert had become increasingly frustrated with Swan’s influence on the playing group, just one day after Pert stated that clubs need to unite to discuss drug culture in the AFL.
Pert stated that the use of illegal drugs is the biggest issue in football, despite AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou saying that the AFL’s illicit drug policy is working perfectly. It wasn’t long ago that Demetriou claimed that tanking didn’t exist in AFL but that’s another story.
Dane Swan, who was recently questioned about his off-field drug habits back in February, is again under fire. The article published by Caroline Wilson in The Age stated that Collingwood should consider cutting one of the best midfielders in the competition in Swan because he may be a poor influence on the Collingwood playing group.
Wilson even stated that Swan “has been a dreadful influence for some time,” followed up by the whole ‘the club said this, Swan said that’ routine. It should be mentioned that nobody at Collingwood has been contacted about the issue, as mentioned by Gary Pert and senior coach Nathan Buckley.
In fact, she even mentions that because Ben Cousins denied his drug addiction for two years at West Coast, Swan and Sam Fisher from St Kilda, who has also recently been questioned about his off-field behaviour, are both lying to their clubs about their off-field habits.
Maybe the worst part of the article is the mentioning of the late John McCarthy, saying that his death should have resulted in a number of Collingwood players including Swan, Alan Didak, Ben Johnson and Dayne Beams changing their ways.
Let’s not deny it, Swan likes a drink. If you asked the man himself, he could tell you that. If you asked the majority of AFL footballers, they could tell you the same thing. However, because Swan has recently been questioned about drug abuse and showed up to a Collingwood training session while still intoxicated during the 2012 season which resulted in a suspension, he is the easiest of targets.
At the end of the day, the guy with a body covered in tattoos who doesn’t want a leadership position at the club and has a love for the drink must surely be on the gear, or so it seems in the mind of Wilson.
Spin it whichever way you want, there is no evidence to support the claims that Dane Swan is a user of illegal drugs, nor is there any evidence that Swan is a poor influence.
The issue is not whether or not Swan is using drugs, it is that Caroline Wilson has insinuated that Swan is using drugs and is a poor influence on the playing group without supplying evidence to support those claims. It is these sort of articles that continue to batter down the working relationship the media has with the AFL and its clubs.
The most unfortunate thing about the off-season is that it seems some journalists are so bored with their jobs that they must cling to whatever scraps they can muster up. In this case, it seems that Wilson has seen Gary Pert’s worries about drug cultures in the AFL as a whole, picked out the easiest target at Collingwood in Dane Swan and put two and two together.
Let’s hope the situation is put to bed as soon as possible so that focus can rightfully go back onto the footballers hoping to receive an early Christmas present in the Pre-Season and Rookie Drafts.