North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has apologised and admits he made a mistake in claiming AFL umpires had a free-kick bias against Lindsay Thomas.
The league has issued Scott with a please-explain and will fine him heavily after his verbal blunder following the Kangaroos’ Friday night loss to Hawthorn.
Within 12 hours, North issued an unreserved apology and Scott said on Monday even if there was a basis to the claim, he should have taken it directly to the AFL rather than air it in the post-game media conference.
Scott says he will accept any penalty the AFL gives him.
“That (penalty) is not for me to talk about – I’m here to issue a public apology and whatever the AFL feel is an appropriate sanction, then I will accept,” Scott said.
Asked if he thought the league might suspend him, Scott again said that was a question for the AFL.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said earlier on Monday he expected the league to decide Scott’s punishment by Tuesday.
The North coach made the bombshell claim in his media conference after their narrow loss to Hawthorn.
Asked if thought the umpires treated Thomas unfairly, Scott said the men officiated Friday’s game had told North players on the field they did not pay him high free kicks because he was a ducker.
Within 12 hours, the club had backed down completely and made an unreserved apology.
Scott follow suit on Monday.
“I would like to add my personal, unreserved apology for statements made in the post-game press conference,” he said.
“I was given information on the way in … that I believed to be matter of fact, not rumour or innuendo.
“It came from a trusted source.
“I was then asked a direct question in the press conference, to which I answered openly and honestly.
“Clearly, 12 hours later, after an investigation by the club, that statement of fact had in fact turned out to be completely incorrect and lacked any factual basis.”
Scott added he erred in talking publicly about the claim rather than raising it in private with the AFL.
He said no one else at North should shoulder the blame.
“It was certainly enough time to process them and I made a really terrible mistake by not fact-checking,” he said.
“I assumed those comments to be matter of fact and I assumed that they were right.
“The apportion of blame falls squarely on my shoulders and I accept that responsibility.”
“(Club officials) don’t put words in my mouth – they pass on information they feel is pertinent.”
Scott said was embarrassed about the controversy because it had taken attention away from the North players and their strong performance against Hawthorn.
He added Jamie Macmillan, the North player incorrectly alleged to have passed on the claim, had been dragged unfairly into the controversy.
Scott said he hoped the issue would not affect the team before Thursday night’s must-win away game against Adelaide.