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Tex "sick of hearing about" McGuire controversy

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As senior Richmond players last night declared their intention to boycott radio station Triple M over the Eddie McGuire-led attack on journalist Caroline Wilson that has ignited national debate, Crows skipper Taylor Walker was taking an opposite tack, declaring he was “sick” of hearing about the controversy.

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As the Magpies board last night backed McGuire as president, it emerged that Tigers players had begun an open-ended action against the radio station that broadcast the exchange, with forward Jack Riewoldt revealing the club would not accede to interviews with Triple M during this Saturday’s game against Brisbane, and possibly thereafter.

“The football club is not going to partake in anything with Triple M this week… and it may continue on,” he told AFL360.

“The club is pretty strong in its stance and our club is a real leader for supporting women’s rights… with (chief executive) Brendon Gale being a (Male) Champion of Change as well.”

Riewoldt’s rhetoric, though, contrasted starkly with that of the Adelaide captain, who tweeted his displeasure at the continuing furore: “And I’m sick of hearing about Eds [sic] comments. Please.”

The tweet drew both ire and empathy, but Walker persisted. When one woman described him as “another self absorbed footballer who thinks it’s all about him”, he replied: “Thanks for your thoughts… You are bullying me now! It’s ok is it? Shoe on the other foot.”

And he is clearly not contemplating a Richmond-esque ban on Triple M, judging from his retort to a commenter who questioned whether he had “a women’s match to interrupt with warm-ups”, as some Crows players infamously did during a recent Adelaide Oval curtain-raiser.

Walker responded: “haha i might use your joke on @TripleMAdelaide next Tuesday!”

Another respondent told him he was “ashamed that you lead our club”, adding: “Violence against women is a serious issue.”

To which Walker replied: “Why are you speaking? You think I encourage it? You’re a peanut buddy.”

He finally sought to contain the fallout, tweeting: “No I don’t condone eddies comments I just wish we could talk about other things like our game Thursday night!”

Adelaide were one of eight clubs awarded last week with a licence to field a team in the AFL’s national women’s league next year.

It’s not the first time Walker has incited controversy on Twitter, having previously berated tennis bad-boys Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios on separate occasions, before sending the latter a video clip of himself taking a mark.

As debate raged yesterday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull weighed into the issue, saying there was no place for disrespecting women, while child psychologist and author of the landmark book Raising Boys, Steve Biddulph, compared McGuire’s blokey incitement of casual violent rhetoric against the Fairfax journalist to broadcaster Alan Jones’ infamous attacks on former PM Julia Gillard.

In a Facebook post that appears to have been subsequently removed, Biddulph wrote: “In case you are in any doubt, I think [McGuire] should resign too.”

“The pattern is important to understand if we are to end violence against women. Caroline Wilson is a serious journalist, she made valid and important – but always reasoned – criticisms of Eddie McGuire’s performance as a manager of Collingwood. That’s her job. A grown up would have two options – to address her arguments and make a case why she was wrong. Or to concede that she was right.

“But instead of engaging as an equal and an adult, Mr McGuire seethed, and in a setting where he felt safe, among mates, and in the hearing of several million people, they joked about – essentially – killing her. When shamed men can’t deal with the anxiety they feel, they choose to resolve it by imagined, or real, violence, and rally support from other men to make that okay.

“This also happened with Alan Jones and our first woman PM Julia Gillard, and the infamous ‘chaff bag’ threats. And as we see in the daily news – from Yorkshire to Orlando, there’s always some nutter willing to carry it out.

“Token apology that is forced by circumstance isn’t the same as real change… Adults deal with conflict or disagreement with words, respectfully, and safely. Only mature adults should be in positions with this much power.”

Nonetheless, McGuire will continue to wield his power for now, having shored up boardroom support at Collingwood as the AFL club nervously awaits key sponsor Holden’s verdict on the Wilson controversy.

At a scheduled meeting last night, the board predictably backed McGuire, saying in a statement that it accepted his unreserved apology and “expressed its complete and ongoing support for his position as president”.

McGuire left the board meeting without comment.

Fellow top-level sponsors CGU Insurance and La Trobe Financial have confirmed their ongoing deals with the club, despite disappointment about the controversy.

Fellow participants in the Triple M conversation Danny Frawley and James Brayshaw have also apologised for their comments, with Frawley, an assistant coach at St Kilda, fronting Saints players and staff yesterday to talk about the issue.

“If those comments about Caroline were made about one of my daughters, it would make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up – wouldn’t have liked it at all,” Frawley said.

“To anyone who is saying ‘lighten up, it’s just a joke’, they need to understand that what we say matters and jokes like this about women are simply not on.”

-with AAP

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