Eddie McGuire has refused to apologise to Caroline Wilson despite saying he understands how comments about the journalist could have been construed as encouraging domestic violence.
McGuire, North Melbourne chairman James Brayshaw and All Australian selector Danny Frawley are at the centre of a controversy after suggesting Wilson should be the only participant in next year’s charity ice slide at the AFL’s Freeze MND charity match.
But while McGuire said anything that encouraged domestic violence was unacceptable, he failed to apologise to the Fairfax Media journalist for the remarks.
“Anything at all that can be perceived to promulgate domestic violence is unacceptable,” McGuire told Triple M’s Hot Breakfast.
“Full stop. That’s the big issue here.
“You can argue as much as you like about the tone and it will put it in context and the rest of it, but anything that is seen to promulgate or to support even in a light-hearted manner any sort of domestic violence, is unacceptable.”
McGuire also denied reports that AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan had told him he must apologise for the comments or stand down from his post.
“That is so far from the case,” McGuire said.
“Not at all. Not at all.”
In a week where the Pies were awarded a licence to field a team in the new women’s national league, McGuire said he would pledge $50,000 “if she stays under”, before going on to describe Wilson as “like a black widow” spider.
The AFL said on Sunday they had only become aware of the comments at the weekend.
“AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan tonight said he contacted club presidents Eddie McGuire and James Brayshaw late today regarding an on-air radio discussion they had been a part of before last week’s round 12 Melbourne v Collingwood match at the MCG,” an AFL statement issued on Sunday read.
“Mr McLachlan said the AFL had expressed the strong view to both club presidents, and All Australian selector Danny Frawley … that although seeking to be light-hearted, the language and tenor of the wording could be seen to be supporting violent attitudes or actions against women, and was therefore clearly not appropriate.”
Brayshaw said he would pledge money in reply to McGuire’s comments.
Frawley apologised for his part in the conversation in which he said, ‘I’ll actually jump in and make sure she doesn’t (surface) – I’ll hold her under”.
“Last Monday on radio I made a couple of insensitive and inappropriate remarks about Caroline Wilson,” Frawley said on Fox Footy on Sunday night.
“Clearly it was a poor attempt at humour for which I sincerely apologise.”
The Western Bulldogs-Geelong game on Saturday night supported the White Ribbon campaign to prevent violence by men against women.