This morning on the radio Gary Lyon and Tim Watson were arguing about whether or not Eddie McGuire should receive a "Please Explain" over his comments on Thursday night that Brent Fewkes was "the goal umpire from hell".
Gary Lyon, a Channel Nine employee, was inflexible....
"He's first and foremost a commentator. So, NO."
Watson, a Channel Seven employee, was just as insistent....
"He's the Collingwood president, there's no excuse. So, YES."
Then in response to Watson's repeated questioning as to whether or not Eddie was EVEN the Collingwood president, Lyon obfuscated and just continued to incant....
"He's a Com-Men-Ta-Tor."
Billy Brownless, a Channel Nine employee, finally popped up....
"Fine Eddie? No chance. They've got no balls."
Rather indiscrete, Billster, but on the money....
League will not sanction McGuire for umpiring comments
THE AFL will not sanction Collingwood president Eddie McGuire for lambasting a goal umpire during the television commentary of the Magpies' 10-goal loss to Brisbane last Thursday.
After a blatant officiating error in the second quarter of the match at the Gabba, McGuire described a first-game goal umpire as "the umpire from hell".
An AFL spokesman said today that the league did not feel that the incident warranted sending McGuire a "please explain" letter.
How the AFL can in Patrick Keane's words....
"That would be an issue for Channel 9, as to how he is perceived as a broadcaster."
....pass the buck in such a shameless -- and yes Bill, gutless -- fashion is totally beyond me. Eddie should have at least been asked in "for a chat".
The comments of Lyon, disingenuous to the point of lying, Watson, provocative as only an opposition broadcaster can be and Brownless, offhanded as is his want, should all be taken with a grain of salt due to them being vested interests. However, they do serve to starkly highlight the problem seen by Tim Lane last year when he refused to work with Eddie McGuire. Namely, there's an obvious conflict of interest.
Then to further spotlight the COI problem, Eddie McGuire, the Collingwood President and Footy Show host, is allowed to get away with abusing an umpire, whilst James Hird, the Essendon Captain and panelist on the self same Footy Show, gets pilloried (Penalty pending) for doing the same thing -- admittedly worse.
It's merely another of the blatant inconsistencies apparent in the AFL that are contributing to my gradual, but inexorable, drift away from the game I once loved, but now approach with a corrosive cynicism.
Just a quick word on McGuire. I don't particularly have a problem with his calling Collingwood games. As long as he's held accountable for what he says.
Up to now I haven't detected any outrageous bias in his commentary, however over the last few weeks I've noticed him "leaning" on missed Collingwood free-kicks in the same way fans do while standing in the crowd cheering on their teams.
All footy fans know what I mean. You almost beg/hope for frees when you're team's involved, but when you're watching a game where you have no emotional investment, you see it in a much more clinical light and virtually never urge for the frees that could have "gone either way".
Overall though, what his commentary highlights is the lack of calling depth in Aussie Rules. It's regularly held by his supporters that he knows how to convey the excitement of a game, but so what? Judging by his screaming style, every third Aussie footy fan could do that.
Where is the smooth, clear voiced, humorous and excitement infused delivery of a Tim Lane or Dennis Cometti?
After Lane and Cometti, virtually every other commentator is either an American hipster style shill a la Clinton "Dished it off "Grybas and Jason "Junk Time" Bennett, or a loud screeching barker, a la Eddie McGuire, Brian Taylor or Rex Hunt. The latter two who often become unitelligable when the game's in the balance.
Me thinks it's time to teach Martin Tyler or Joe Buck about the finer points of Aussie Rules.