I know this blog is supposed to be about Sydney sports teams… but this is too big to ignore.
Brock McLean is a talented player – there is no doubt about that. And if you don’t believe me, check out what this guy has to say. But he’s in trouble, again. This is the second time I have added him to my list of ‘Athletes Who Are So Dumb They Make My 4 Year Old Nephew Look Smart’ (along with Michael Phelps for the marijuana fiasco, Nick D’Arcy for the gun photo, Michael Vick for the dog fighting and Tiger Woods for… well, being Tiger Woods) – the first time being for that Twitter/AIDS drama. This time, he’s also under scrutiny for claims he made about Melbourne, who he left in 2009 for Carlton. Adrian Anderson is involved. You know it’s not going to be nice.
The cliff notes version is that McLean said he left Melbourne because the team was losing games on purpose. Watch his interview with On The Couch here. Now, he and the club will be extensively interviewed to figure out if this is true. Apparently, when Dean Bailey left Melbourne last year, he inadvertently admitted to “tanking.” But the AFL never really followed up. Now all this nonsense…
So why would a team lose on purpose and why is this a big deal? There comes a time towards the middle or end of every season when certain clubs know they aren’t going to make the finals. When this happens, they can keep playing their heart out and try their darnedest to win the last few games or they can blow it. Losing more games would put them toward the bottom of the ladder which allows them higher draft picks next season. (It’s one of the possible problems with a reverse order draft, but that’s another post, another bitch fit). This is a big discussion in sport and always has been. If it were true, it would be a very popular news topic for a long time and showing the AFL in a negative light.
To say I’m annoyed would be a gross understatement. When it comes to sport, nothing pisses me off (expect game delays) more than an athlete who gets others in trouble by saying stupid shit, even if he has good intentions. I don’t think McLean realizes what kind of effects this could have. Maybe fans don’t care, but I do. And I’m sure the AFL will too. Not only does it call the integrity of the game into question, but the league would have to review its policies, procedures and methods of maintaining competitive balance. The time, energy and resources that would have to go into a restructuring of the league – if it ever gets that far – would be enormous. And so, SO inconvenient. Even if they find it to be true, they can’t possibly think this is the only team to ever have done so. The system is set up that way. The AFL even had to review its priority picks procedures in attempts to prevent tanking. It appears to be a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell situation – the AFL knows tanking happens and there’s little they can do to prevent it, but when a prominent player, like McLean, talks about it on national television, they have to jump in the Mystery Machine and act try to resolve the situation.
I’m hoping that McLean just apologizes, blames it on miscommunication and the league gives him a fine for being so annoying. That’s what you deserve when you bring your company, and the game you play, to disrepute.