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SBD Global/July 29, 2013/Franchises
Australian Football League Essendon Chair David Evans Steps Down Amid Doping Probe
Published July 29, 2013
HIRD HANGING ON: Also in Melbourne, Quayle & Murnane reported "all indications are that Essendon coach James Hird will hang tough in the face of extraordinary pressure resulting from the Bombers' supplements program, which has already accounted for five key personnel departing the club." Hird "is steadfast in his belief that he has done nothing illegal and that players have not taken any banned substances, although his version of events is expected to be challenged by former high-performance head Dean Robinson in an interview due to be screened on Channel Seven this week." Within the club, there is "enormous support for the coach, as well as frustration that what staff were told would be a six-week investigation has stretched to almost six months." One of Hird's former teammates, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that "he could not see him leaving." He said, "I can't see him quitting, no way. It must be taking a toll but there's no way he'd walk away from it" (THE AGE, 7/29). In Melbourne, Caroline Wilson wrote Hird "is standing firm as the dominoes fall around him." Perhaps "he still sees himself as Essendon's saviour." Hird "threw his chairman under a bus as well as targeting the AFL just weeks before the investigation into the club was at its end." His camp "did not back off all weekend, implying to anyone who wanted to listen there was more to come." Where "it heads now is anyone's guess." What we described on Friday as ''Hird Inc'' more closely resembles ''cult Hird'' where his disciples' blind faith prevents them from seeing what sits so clearly in front of them. It "has been a strategy closely resembling the corporate governance at Essendon" from late '11 until late '12 -- scattergun and reckless (THE AGE, 7/29).