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Veteran AFL journalists Damian Barrett and Craig Hutchison have sided with Eddie McGuire in his live stoush with footy reporter Sam McClure, who took issue with the suggestion journalists should’ve asked Jack Steven about the circumstances surrounding his stab wound in May.

Last week, McGuire and McClure clashed over the media’s treatment of Jack Steven, who spoke to reporters after a return to training less than a week after being discharged from hospital with a stab wound to his chest.

McGuire was baffled reporters didn’t ask the 30-year-old what led to his injury, saying he would’ve told McClure: “Son, there’s the car. Get in it and don’t come back.”

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McClure said the inner workings of footy media are different to what they were when McGuire was a full-time journalist and tweeted the morning after that, if McGuire disagreed with his stance, “don’t bother sacking me, I’ll resign”.

Barrett and Hutchison addressed the issue on The Sounding Board podcast on Tuesday. Read the full transcript below.


Damian Barrett: Absolutely (reporters should’ve asked), not even wiggle room on the answer. It’s a simple question: “Jack, what happened?” … The question had to be asked in my eyes.

Even more so because two days prior to that Chris Scott his coach, who is a tremendously protective person when it comes to his players actually, in protecting Jack Steven said that the issue that Jack Steven was dealing with in that week was not at all linked to mental health, which he had gone public with in relatively recent times, so there was no reason not to ask that question. I’ve had more blues with Eddie McGuire than I ever had with Sam McClure, but to answer your question I’m fully on Ed’s wavelength in this particular debate.”

Craig Hutchison: I’m in complete agreeance. Did Jack actually say he didn’t want to talk about it? Don’t you owe him the opportunity … you kind of owe him the opportunity to talk about it, don’t you?

DB: The moment you choose to stop for a ‘doorstop’, it was clearly an arrangement that he was going to the way I saw it, the question has to be asked

CH: I’m sorry, excuse me, was it pre-determined that he would’t talk about it and that was the message to journalists?

DB: Quite possibly, I haven’t even delved into the why’s and where for’s. But Hutchy, I think you know me well enough and I’d expect you to be the same, if a player in that situation has chosen to stop and actually physically stop walking away from the cameras, whether it’s arranged or whether he’s chosen to stop the entitlement, is there to ask the question and it’s two words: What happened?

CH: Theres a respectful way to ask it that’s not offensive and gives him one opportunity. One time out of 15 he stops and says, “thanks for asking and here’s what happened” and you think ‘I’m glad I asked that question’ … Sometimes the player himself, or herself, actually wants to clarify and the easiest way to put things to bed is to give the sound bite for the news, take the steam out of it a little bit when you’ve had something to say. Equally, I respect Sam comes from things from a bit of a different angle … let’s just cut everyone a little bit of slack for how they see the world I think at the moment.

DB: Just on that particular topic, I was on Eddie’s side of things … it’s the first time I can recall ever going against something Sam has said in that space, Hutchy.

Originally published as Journos back Eddie over fiery stoush