AFL, Wilson at odds over McGuire apology

Eddie McGuire may have apologised to the AFL’s satisfaction for his disparaging remarks about Caroline Wilson but the respected journalist was left fuming over the incident.

Collingwood president McGuire will face no sanction from the AFL over on-air comments that he would pledge $50,000 if Wilson “stays under” in a charity ice pool, despite the league finding them disparaging and insulting.

Wilson went a step further on Monday night, labelling them sexist and bullying, with McGuire’s apology insincere and forced upon him.

“I thought there was an element of bullying in it,” Wilson said of the exchange in question on the Nine Network.

“I’m very happy for the things that I write to be dissected and I’m very happy for people to take me on … it happens to me every week but I don’t think that’s the way to do it.

“I don’t think any journalist should have to put up with that sort of crap.”

Wilson felt there was venom in McGuire’s tone and rejected the notion the comments were made as part of a “jokey banter”.

McGuire, North Melbourne chairman James Brayshaw and All Australian selector Danny Frawley were all at the centre of a public outcry on Monday after the Queen’s Birthday Monday comments on radio station Triple M came to light.

McGuire suggested Wilson should be the only participant in next year’s charity ice slide at the AFL’s Freeze MND charity match.

He said he’d pay $50,000 if she stayed under the water, before going on to describe Wilson as “like a black widow”.

Brayshaw said he would pledge money in response to McGuire’s comments, while Frawley said, ‘I’ll actually jump in and make sure she doesn’t (surface) – I’ll hold her under”.

Both apologised for their roles in the exchange, with Frawley also to be called to account by St Kilda, where he is a part-time coach.

“The comments were inappropriate, cringe-worthy and could barely be more in contrast with our club values,” a club statement read.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan condemned the comments, but stopped short of sanctioning McGuire, despite having broad powers to do so.

McLachlan said that he had consulted with women inside and outside the AFL in reaching his position.

McGuire appeared on several media outlets on Monday before apologising for the exchange, with the response satisfying the AFL.

“Words and jokes have incredible power,” McLachlan said.

“The fact that the comments were made on radio a week ago and were not called out is an indictment on everyone working in football.

“The fact that we can still argue that this might have been done in jest shows a lack of understanding of this issue.

“I understand the men who made these comments are horrified that they could be construed as creating an environment that makes sexist behaviours or a culture of violence against women more acceptable.

“But the truth is these kind of comments do – the statistics and data say so.”

McLachlan refuted a report that he had asked McGuire to stand down as Magpies president over the issue.

Collingwood failed to mention Wilson or their president by name in a statement released on Monday that trumpeted the club’s achievements in raising awareness of the issue of violence against women.

Triple M said in a statement it was satisfied with the apologies offered by the trio and will take no action.

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