THE AFL will consider stripping accreditation from members of the media if “they make things up”.
AFL chief Gillon McLachlan discussed the possibility on Melbourne radio station 3AW.
The radio program’s host Neil Mitchell argued potential media bans were “draconian’, however, McLachlan said fabricated stories could taint a person’s integrity.
The suggestion of removing accreditation was first raised by an incensed Nathan Buckley after Perth radio commentator Brad Hardie suggested a third party had approached Collingwood about the senior coaching position on behalf of contracted Fremantle coach Ross Lyon.
Although Collingwood and Lyon have both emphatically denied the suggestion, Hardie is standing by his story.
Buckley later said: “The key question is how can you allow someone to come up with absolute fabrications … [do we] wait for Gill to start taking accreditations away? That would be handy, wouldn’t it?”
McLachlan said on Friday: “I actually thought [Buckley’s suggestion] was quite a good idea.
“There’s a responsibility everywhere, our players, coaches, officials, everyone’s held incredibly accountable every day.
“We’re also talking about people’s livelihoods, and this allegation talked to integrity. There has to be an accountability for that, and taking accreditation away seems to me to be a fairly logical outcome of that, so I reckon that it is worth looking at.”
AFL.com.au understands there is no formal investigation underway into Hardie’s comments and no consideration has been given to removing his accreditation at this stage.
McLachlan’s comments sparked a robust exchange with the award-winning talkback host Mitchell.
MITCHELL: It’s really draconian, I mean it’s the sort of thing that Stalin would have embraced … I don’t like what you say therefore I remove your right to say it.
McLACHLAN: That’s not what I’m saying at all. It’s not opinion, Neil, it’s got nothing to do with that. Making up something that is completely wrong, and is almost, I would say, I don’t use this word lightly, a complete lie, if that’s true, it has an impact on people’s lives. It goes to Nathan’s ability to be contracted to coach next year, it goes to the integrity of Ross Lyon who is in contract. Do you believe that someone .. that there’s an ethical and responsibility of the journalist not to make stuff up?
MITCHELL: I don’t know how many times I’ve been accused of making stuff up which a month later turns out to be dead right.
McLACHLAN: That’s a different issue, right.
MITCHELL: But I’m already out of a job, because you say I’ve made it up and six months later it’s right.
McLACHLAN: If it’s proven to be, that’s the issue is how do you prove it to be true, that they lied or it’s not true, so you end up in a bit of nil-all draw.
Earlier this year Buckley said: “I don’t think media can be trusted with information” … and fans should get access to players and coaches from the Collingwood website.