De Goey’s ADHD revelation ‘no excuse’ for Bali behaviour: AFL chief

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says Jordan De Goey’s revelation he has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder should not be used as an excuse for his embarrassing Bali nightclub incident which has seen him step away from the club.

De Goey, 26, has taken personal leave from the Magpies after a tumultuous week where his interaction with a woman in Bali during Collingwood’s bye round, including sexual gestures, was posted on social media, sparking furore about disrespect towards women.

Jordan De Goey is taking time out of football.Credit:Getty Images

He was hauled before Magpies’ brass upon his return home, had his contract renegotiations halted until the end of the season, was handed a $25,000 suspended fine, and ordered to undergo more counselling.

In his public apology, De Goey, who has a history of courting trouble, revealed he had been diagnosed with ADHD last year “and I am trying to become more aware of why I make mistakes that I do”.

McLachlan said on Friday it was no excuse for De Goey’s latest drama.

“Anyone with medical conditions needs to be taken seriously. Mental health is a real issue, so I am absolutely supportive of people talking about their issues. I think the point I would make here is, it’s important context, but it’s not an excuse for what’s going on,” McLachlan said on his fortnightly appearance on 3AW.

The league supremo said he did not have a major understanding of ADHD but added: “When people start getting into all that, it’s not my space. I am pretty clear, I don’t think it’s an excuse. It’s worth talking about because people, I think, it’s important to talk about the conditions they have and to get treatment but I don’t think it’s an excuse here instinctively … ”

McLachlan said the AFL did not feel it needed to conduct its own investigation, satisfied the Magpies had done what was required.

“I guess I was frustrated by it [De Goey’s actions]. It was, I guess, a tonality that I didn’t like and the conversations ensued,” he said.

“I won’t get into the individual specifics other than to say our position at the AFL is really clear – there is no place other than behaviour across our community that has total respect for women. That’s our position. The video has created a debate across the community and, ultimately, the assessment of Collingwood, it was behaviour that didn’t respect women and they have taken action.

“We try and get all of the clubs to handle these issues themselves. The employees of the clubs, we had conversations with Collingwood – they have taken action. I know people have debated the extent of that. He has contract talks off the table, he has a $25,000 suspended fine, and he is undergoing further counselling. There are a whole series of things being worked through. We support the actions they took.”

Rival clubs, including Essendon, St Kilda and North Melbourne, have expressed an interest in De Goey, should he not come to terms with the Magpies. A trade for the Brisbane Lions’ off-contract forward Daniel McStay is also a possibility, according to rival clubs.

The Magpies also had to deal with controversy involving players Jack Ginnivan and Isaac Quaynor, who have since apologised for rating the appearance of women in a video posted on TikTok.

“I just think the timing was [at its] unfortunate best,” McLachlan said.

“This is a game lots of people are playing, boys and girls, men and women, we all have our views on it … the whole thing, frankly, is odd but I think there is a context here but the timing is bizarre. I mean, really, [they] didn’t have a feel for the situation. It’s a kid’s game really and they got drawn into it.”

The Magpies’ culture has been the subject of intense scrutiny after the club’s 2021 Do Better report which found it guilty of systematic racism. The Magpies, now led by new president Jeff Browne, are embracing change.

Asked if the Magpies had a cultural problem, McLachlan replied: “I think they are working hard at what they are. These unfortunate incidents and timings this week – Collingwood are working to be better, I know that.”

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