‘Relax’: Eddie shuts down nightclub visit critics
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has told his critics to "relax" after he was spotted attending a nightclub with his teenage son last weekend.
McGuire visited the Pink Flamingo on the Gold Coast on Saturday evening with his 19-year-old son and members of Millionaire Hot Seat crew. Photos of the night out were posted to social media.
The Fox Footy presenter has been an outspoken critic of AFL players who breached the league's strict biosecurity protocols, and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett could not resist calling out the "hell of a contradiction".
"You can't have one rule for one group of people and another rule for others,'' Kennett said, as reported by The Herald Sun.
"It looks silly. He probably hasn't broken any Queensland laws, but he has put himself again at the centre of attention where this issue of conflict of interest continues to raise its head. "While he is out there jiving at the Pink Flamingo, his players and coaches are in a hub breathing stale air."
Defending his nightclub appearance on Triple M radio on Monday, McGuire said he was merely doing research about how venues are reopening in a COVID-19 world as part of his role with Visit Victoria - an organisation that aims to attract tourists to his home state.
Watch the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series on Kayo with every game before the Grand Final Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
McGuire was inevitably asked about the incident during an interview on Channel 9's The Today Show, and he quickly brushed off the criticism.
"I wish it was more clubbing than actually just a reconnaissance tour. I was there with the compliance officer. We have a beer, have a look the at things, then we went home," McGuire said on Friday morning.
"What we have to do in Australia, any bit of joy we can get, enjoy it while you can. Relax, everybody. There's enough pain and suffering going on for everybody.
"I've been hiding out in a cave in Victoria for six months. There's this big golden thing in the sky.
"It's unbelievable. This is Surfers Paradise."
McGuire also paid tribute to Australian cricket great Dean Jones, who passed away on Thursday from a suspected heart attack.
"I met Deano, I was a 14-year-old district cricket reporter and he was making his debut for Carlton back in 1980/81," McGuire said.
"I remember speaking to him after the game. The only time both of us were lost for words. He was a great friend, an amazing cricketer.
"Devastated that one of our finest cricketers and personalities has died so young. To his family and the sporting family in Victoria, our hearts are breaking this morning.
"The thing you realise with Dean dying overnight is you remember the great moments. You don't remember the drama moments.
"If you can get a little bit of sunshine in your life, literally and figuratively at the moment, take it, just do it within the law."
Earlier this week, AFL reporter Damian Barrett acknowledged McGuire had done nothing wrong other than be responsible for a "small bad look", and gave him a proverbial hat-tip for using Visit Victoria as part of his defence.
"He can fall on his sword totally, or he can go another way," Barrett said on The Sounding Board podcast.
"Now, knowing Eddie, he's going to go the way that he is convinced is the right way to go.
"I laughed though because he almost doubled down on his right to be in the Pink Flamingo in whatever time it was, in those circumstances.
"And what I love most about it is, in part of his life, he is a member of Visit Victoria, which is the promotional body to bring people to Victoria.
"Victoria is in complete lockdown right now but Eddie, from the goodness of his heart, is helping Victoria, according to his statement.
"I started smirking as he was saying it, he was trying to do the right thing by Victoria in going to the Pink Flamingo to learn protocols on how we can re-open establishments."
McGuire recently completed two weeks of quarantine in the sunshine state, and will remain in Queensland for October's AFL Grand Final at the Gabba.
Collingwood will take on the West Coast Eagles at Perth Stadium for their elimination final on Saturday, October 3.
READ MORE: Stunning selection 'failure' lashed
READ MORE: Uproar over All-Aus snubs
Originally published as 'Relax': Eddie shuts down nightclub critics