Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has opened up on the discussions surrounding Jaidyn Stephenson’s suspension for betting on Magpies games.
The 20-year old was ultimately handed a 22-week penalty, 12 of those suspended, sidelining him fore the rest of the home and away season.
And McGuire has revealed the variance of the sentence during the conversations prior to landing on the 10-match ban.
“People might say that’s a number that’s been picked,” McGuire said on Triple M this morning.
“It started way beyond that number and came backwards and we landed at 10 and everyone, including Jaidyn Stephenson, accepts that for the game itself.
“As a legitimate punishment, 10 weeks is fair enough.
“He’s probably had the most innocuous of bets, other than the fact it had Collingwood in it.
“So that takes it from innocuous to high level. He self-reports, so that takes it back a bit. But there’s all these other elements in there.
“So he went from life to four weeks to everything in between.
“As you put it up on the board and put a star or put a cross and a tick next to all the elements and it came out at 10 weeks, $20,000, and he’s on match payments, so he doesn’t play, he doesn’t get paid.”
Stephenson is eligible to return to the field for the first week of finals, a decision which has been met with the criticism.
However, McGuire said that the suspension was given with “integrity”.
“Now people say ‘oh, he’s back for the finals’ — well, what happened was, there was another discussion where, had this happened in Round 3, he would’ve got 10 weeks,” McGuire said.
“If you’re going to go down the line that we have integrity (in the AFL), there has to be integrity in the suspension as well.
“I have no doubt that if Jaidyn Stephenson or any player actually had something in his multi — let’s say the opposition team winning was in there, he would have got life.
“There is no way in the history of mankind that the AFL would have found out that Jaidyn Stephenson’s mate had put on a multi, unless he came forward.”
The Magpies chief added that the “integrity of the game” was the number one priority, also hoping that Stephenson’s case would help other people with similar issues come forward.
“The integrity of the game is the paramount concern on everybody,” he said.
“I was lobbying hard that we have to make sure that kids will want to come forward, we don’t want them to be driven underground.
“We have a situation that, literally you can take any drug you like (and) if you self report that is seen as a positive thing.
“There are very big mental health issues in gambling at the moment.
“There’s a myriad of issues, but in the end you have to distil it down to a straight up rule and that is if you bet on a game, you’re going to get clobbered from here on in.
“If you bet on your own team, you’re going to get really smashed and if you bet in a way that you influence a game, you are facing a year, 22 weeks.”