The AFL has apologized to Lance Franklin after a tribunal hearing on Wednesday night described the swan champion’s actions as “cowardly” with a one-match suspension.
On Wednesday afternoon, the league tribunal issued a statement condemning the “rhetorical flush” used by Andrew Woods, a legal adviser, and refraining from using language.
The statement said the league office had contacted Franklin and Swans to apologize, saying: “There are no cowardly players in the AFL, let alone Lance Franklin.”
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The statement came after widespread condemnation of the AFL community’s legal advice, led by former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.
Talking about Nine Footy is categorized On Wednesday night, McGuire exploded the unprofessional behavior of the legal counsel representing both the AFL and Franklin.
Franklin tried to apply for a one-match ban for hitting former Richmond captain Trent Cochin at the SCG last Friday night, but the penalty was eventually upheld, meaning the main forward would miss his team’s blockbuster match against reigning Premier Melbourne on Saturday night.
McGuire was outraged by the language used by Franklin’s representatives, Duncan Miller and Woods, labeling the remarks directed at Franklin as “almost defamatory”.
Miller argued that Franklin pushed Cochin instead of hitting him, the communication was not intentional and any impact was negligible rather than minimal.
Swan’s case rested on accusing Cochin of acting, Miller foolishly suggested that the joint 2012 Brownlow Medal recipient should win an award for his theatrics.
“I am tempted to say that he may be invited to the lodge this year and not Brownlow,” Miller said during the trial.
“The movement of the head was somewhat exaggerated and it had the effect of reversing a free-kick.”
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But AFL prosecutor Woods claimed that Franklin’s actions were “fearless” and “cowardly” – an assessment that McGuire rejected.
Woods then blew up an amusing line of his own: “It’s not the AFL, the Fight Club or a war game.”
The AFL statement was effective in defending Franklin.
“Lance Franklin is a champion of our game.
“At the time of filing the submission, the legal counsel assisting the tribunal used his own words to describe the strike situation on Trent Cochin, meaning Mr Cochin did not reasonably expect to be hit by Mr Franklin.”
“Trent Cochin is a premiership captain and one of the most respected leaders in the competition.
“It is the AFL’s view that the rhetorical developments of the nature used by both counsel last night should not be part of the AFL tribunal process and that they do not reflect the AFL opinion.”
Former St. Kilda and Fremantle coach Ross agreed with Leon McGuire’s assessment that both mentors worked professionally.
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“Can I tell AFL counsel Andrew Woods, mate, pull up, it’s out of the question,” Leon said. Footy is categorized.
“It’s almost disgraceful to call a player a coward and a coward.”
McGuire insisted there was no need for a tribunal trial.
“(Cochin and Franklin) are two of the best people in football as to their reputation,” he said.
“One cowardly allegation from one QC and another (to stage), please. QC, enough.”
Leon agrees, saying the oversupply has set a bad example.
“They may feel good about it but I think it’s out of line,” he said.
“Trent Cochin, he threw himself in front of a freight train in Lance Franklin.
“I think it’s unnecessary, I think it’s unnecessary.”
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