Eddie McGuire is the master of spin — and his defence over a controversial nightclub visit was laughable in all the right ways.
Hawthorn chief Jeff Kennett slammed the Collingwood president this week for being photographed in the Pink Flamingo on the Gold Coast while others in footy remain quarantined in hubs, saying: “While he is out there jiving at the Pink Flamingo, his players and coaches are in a hub breathing stale air.”
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McGuire didn’t break any rules because he is not part of the Collingwood “bubble”, and having completed his 14 days in isolation after arriving in Queensland, is now free to behave like any other citizens of the Sunshine State.
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.
“(I) speak extensively to people in the restaurant and hospitality industry about how we get Victoria going again,” McGuire said on the Hot Breakfast. “(That’s) part of what I was looking at the other night and how that all works.
“I went through the procedure on how you go about doing things if you are outside the hub.”
McGuire said he was conducting a reconnaissance mission, adding the people he was with told him: “‘The best place we can show you is this place called the Pink Flamingo’.”
Former Footy Show host Craig Hutchison and AFL reporter Damian Barrett, who used to work with McGuire on the Footy Show, both loved the way the Channel 9 star spun his way out of a sticky situation.
Discussing the episode on The Sounding Board podcast, both Barrett and Hutchison — who hosts Footy Classified on Monday nights — couldn’t help but chuckle at the Collingwood supremo’s confidence to shut down his critics.
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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. “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.”
Hutchison agreed with Barrett and said McGuire only found himself in the limelight because he was too kind to refuse a photo when asked by a couple of men to pose in front of the camera.
“I say this with admiration, the reconnaissance mission defence — you know you’re a confident human being when you launch a reconnaissance defence on the Pink Flamingo,” Hutchison said.
“I say that in absolute admiration.
“How you would keep a straight face on a reconnaissance pitch is what made me laugh.
“He was in a no-win situation … the reconnaissance was a bold defence.
“I love the defence … I love the confidence to be able to attempt it.”