I have been accused by some this week of creating a drama when none existed in the first place with my interview on ABC Grandstand with Brumbies’ CEO, Michael Jones.
Let me tell you it was an interview that needed to be done with months of speculation about the Brumbies financial stability, Mr Jones future in the job and his relationship with the board as well as the relationship with major stakeholders.
I had called Mr Jones a number of times for a week before he answered . We spoke about the rumours and at the end of the conversation I asked him to come in for an interview on Saturday morning to clear the air. I expected him to say that everything was fine and the rumours were just that.
As it turned out I felt as though I was following his lead on many issues. I had no pre-conceived notion that it would eventuate as it did. Prior to the interview he said he didn’t want to go into the referral to the AFP on matters relating to the sale of the Griffith Headquarters and the subsequent relocation to the University of Canberra. After an uneventful start it headed in that direction. It wasn’t pre-planned, I was merely trying to find out about the rumours and seek his views on this matter.
The interview was far longer than I had expected. I had scheduled seven to eight minutes, which is a long interview. As it eventuated, the conversation went for close to 25 minutes during which he indicated that if the speculation was allowed to continue it was cancerous to the organisation and had the potential to threaten the very existence of the Brumbies.
I would have been castigated had I not pursued the interview in that direction. I have been told since the interview that Brumbies’ board members and the ARU had listened with interest to the interview, which was live-to-air.
I gave Michael a call on Tuesday morning after he had been stood down by the Brumbies’ board and he was adamant that he had done nothing wrong. He also told me that he had received numerous calls and e-mails of support for his comments from sponsors, happy that somebody had finally addressed the rumours.
This saga still has many chapters to play out. The worry is that the longer it goes on, it has the potential to impact on the playing group and this is a greater concern than the management dramas themselves. Having said that, I am fully aware of the media’s involvement in this. But this is the role of the media. We can be damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.