Australian Football League, Essendon Behind-The-Scenes Punishment Talks Exposed
Secret documents and a bombshell email "have lifted the lid on behind-the-scenes inducements offered to Essendon and James Hird" as the Australian Football League "worked frantically to pressure him to accept drugs scandal penalties," according to Warner & Robinson of the HERALD SUN. Days before the Aug. 26-27 AFL Commission hearing was due to consider penalties, "deals were being proposed by Australia's top government-appointed sports official, John Wylie." A document emailed by Wylie to Essendon Chair Paul Little on the night of Aug. 23 "outlined potential settlement terms" as the crisis threatened to spill into the Supreme Court. In a separate document presented to Hird on Aug. 23, amid negotiations between Wylie and Little, the Essendon coach is offered "an outstanding career development opportunity" in return for dropping his legal action against the AFL. League spokesperson James Tonkin said, "Numerous discussions took place at different levels in a bid to resolve the matter as quickly and appropriately as possible." An offer "to allow Hird to receive a full salary while serving a 12-month ban was also discussed" (HERALD SUN, 12/3). The HERALD SUN also put together a timeline of events in the Essendon supplements saga.