In what smacked as a bit of “get square,” Nine AFL Footy Show
host Eddie McGuire last night called for the sacking of the entire AFL
Hall of Fame nominating committee over the controversial induction of
Gary Ablett. McGuire told viewers that while he had no problem with
accepting Ablett by any football indicator, the criteria for induction
reads: “The committee considers players on the basis of record,
ability, integrity, sportsmanship and character.” This has kept Ablett
out of the Hall of Fame since being eligible in 2001, so what has

He argued that as the Hall of Fame committee –
comprising Ron Evans (chairman), Brian Atkinson, Kevin Bartlett,
Brendon Gale, Harry Gordon, Tim Lane, Tom Reynolds, Lou Richards, Mike
Sheahan, Patrick Smith, Leigh Whicker and Caroline Wilson – had
disregarded the rules of eligibility, they should all be sacked.

at a Collingwood news conference earlier yesterday he said he was
pleased that a “blight on the game” had been removed. “In the last few
years that’s taken away from the people who have actually gone into the
Hall of Fame, because all there’s been is the Gary Ablett question.”

is no inconsistency in his position as president of Collingwood or TV
personality in suggesting that Ablett’s elevation has cleared up an
annual running sore. His problem lies in what he called the committee’s
“gutless” action in reversing its previous stand that relates to
Ablett’s suitability on matters of integrity or character. Since the
committee has now disregarded these criteria, the criteria should be
ripped up.

But at that same Collingwood conference, coach Mick
Malthouse made some perplexing comments suggesting that there were too
many print media people on the Hall of Fame committee. McGuire picked
up this theme last night on Nine, asking why there were so many print
journalists involved, and pointing out that these same people have
taken a “crack” at him in the past.

David Parkin speaking on Fox Footy’s White Line Fever
last night welcomed the presence of the media on the nominating
committee, and saw them as essential in helping protect the nomination
process from being one where, if players had the majority say, they
would be likely to nominate their mates or not bring an impartial eye
to proceedings.

In the US, the two biggest professional team
sports overwhelmingly entrust their Hall of Fame inductees voting to
the media. For instance baseball relies on the votes from around 500
media people to decide its members, through the Baseball Writers’
Association of America, which has overseen the process since its
inception in 1936. Neither the Hall of Fame staff nor its Board of
Directors vote or play any part in the voting process.