Collingwood’s decision to sanction Jordan De Goey with a suspended $25,000 fine might sound insignificant to those who believe he should’ve faced a harsher penalty.
But, in reality, there is little more Magpies officialdom could’ve done.
At the end of the day he’s done nothing illegal. Nothing violent. No drugs.
READ MORE: Magpies hand down punishment to De Goey
His action of pulling down a woman’s top was clearly disrespectful, and in a sport where respect for women is often questioned, he’s rightly been reprimanded for his actions, despite the woman involved stating she has no issue with what unfolded.
So why all the hoopla around De Goey’s Bali trip? Simple really- he’s an AFL footballer at the top of his game and, at least prior to his Balinese adventure, on the precipice of a multi-million dollar deal.
He’s also a player that has a history of inappropriate behaviour. You would think given his position, he’d lay low and minimise the risk of giving the media something to talk about. But, alas that didn’t happen.
In isolation, the images and video that emanated from Bali are immature, and foolish. If this was a teenager, or a player’s first indiscretion you’d handle it with a stern reprimand and slap on the wrist.
But De Goey is 26 and in his eighth season of AFL football. He’s also transgressed before, and should’ve known full well any act perceived as disrespectful would’ve been reported on, and ultimately not end well.
Which brings me back to the sanction. Sure, a suspended $25,000 fine is insignificant for a player on more than half a million dollars a year. It’s meaningless to De Goey, but for Collingwood it shows symbolically he can’t put a foot wrong for the remainder of the season.
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In the long term, though, De Goey is going to face a financial hit greater than any sanction which could’ve been handed to him. An outstanding footballer, and restricted free agent at the end of this season, De Goey could’ve commanded upward of a million dollars a season. Not anymore.
Jordan De Goey “the footballer” may well be worth that. But, Jordan De Goey “the package” is too great a risk.
In the past 48 hours we’ve learnt Collingwood has taken a deal off the table, with CEO Mark Anderson revealing talks with the forward will be postponed until the end of the season.
At a time when clubs should be lining up for his services, all I can hear now are crickets. What club is going to risk a seven-figure salary on a player that still puts his own reputation at risk and in turn risks the reputation of the club and the competition?
De Goey and his manager now have one task – restoring Collingwood’s faith, for it will be the only interested party in his services in 2023 and beyond. As for a lucrative pay rise? The status quo is probably as good as it’s going to get.
Collingwood young guns apologise
De Goey has made errant decisions, and admitted his actions fell “short of the standards expected of [him] as a person, an AFL footballer and as a representative of Collingwood”. If he stays true to his word, and is committed to rebuilding the trust of teammates and the club, then a redemption story with the Magpies who have backed him in isn’t out of the question. But, there’s no doubt it’s a precarious position he now finds himself in.
It was a forgettable day for Collingwood. Not only De Goey’s apology, but Jack Ginnivan and Isaac Quaynor forced to apologise for degrading comments about women that were posted to TikTok as part of a global trend.
Both instances had one common denominator- social media. Without social media neither becomes a story.
That doesn’t excuse the behaviour for an instant. But this belief that everything needs to be posted to Instagram or discussed on TikTok is a fallacy. Not everything needs to be shared. Not everything needs to be recorded.
The more prominent one’s profile, the greater the risks of social media become. As well as strengthening education programs around illicit drugs and respect for women, it might be time for the AFL, clubs and the Players’ Association to invest further in social media education.
As fun as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok can be, they often appear to be the catalyst for many of the issues in and around our game today.
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