Last night on Channel 9's Footy Classified, The Age journalist Caroline Wilson controversially commented on Saints players Tim Membrey and Seb Ross missing their round 13 game to return home.
Membrey and Ross both elected to skip the Saints clash against the Crows in Cairns on Saturday - which they ended up losing - to travel home to Melbourne to be with their families.
Ross' wife Marnie had just given birth to twins, whilst Membrey's partner is expecting the birth of their child in the coming weeks.
Despite the football world sympathising with their decision, Wilson had a differing opinion.
“Marnie gave birth to twins five or six weeks ago so he missed the game where the twins were born, and he wanted to be with his wife (again) - he wasn’t prepared to stay in Sydney and go to Cairns for another week,” Wilson said on Footy Classified.
"Supporters, sponsors and other teammates would have every right to be a bit disappointed."
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) June 14, 2021
“This despite the fact several senior leaders at the club asked him to stay. He’s a leader of the club and they asked him to stay.
“I must stress there is no medical problem with the twins. I know it’s tough when you’re home alone with twins, but there were other family people who maybe could have been with her but he thought he had to be with her.
“I think supporters and sponsors and members and other teammates would have every right to be a bit disappointed.
“(With) Membrey less (than Ross) ... I would not be making these comments. There was no medical emergency here.”
Immediately, there was backlash from all corners of the footballing world.
“So, Caro is suggesting she knows better than the Ross family? I would suggest that’s a conversation she would not want to have with Seb Ross’ wife and/or mother or family members that she has in her opinion said there are no medical problems,” Lyon stated.
“How she can make a judgement on the family situation of a young mother with twins from afar and say ‘why didn’t they bow to peer pressure these blokes and stay’.
Watson confirmed there was no medical emergency with Ross' children, but still said Wilson had missed the mark wildly.
“I don’t think anyone who’s not had twins could understand what it might be like having two babies and the anxiousness and the stress associated with that," Watson exclaimed.
“Extraordinary that she of all people would say that.”
Online, there was even more backlash from ex-players and fans alike.
"Pulled myself out of a game Vs Sydney to ensure I was at the birth of my first child (to support my wife) in 2018," said Schofield in response to the footage.
"We lost - I’m a battler, so may not have made a difference, best decision I made in my football career… would do it again 1000 times. WTF is this take?!?!?"
Pulled myself out of a game Vs Sydney to ensure I was at the birth of my first child (to support my wife) in 2018. We lost - I’m a battler, so may not have made a difference, best decision I made in my football career… would do it again 1000 times. WTF is this take?!?!? 🤯🤯🤯
— Will Schofield (@WillSchofield) June 14, 2021
His retweet again only this morning confirmed his stance on the issue.
“Under what circumstances does taking leave from your job, to support your family and children, make it ok for this sort of commentary?" Schofield wrote.
“I’ve heard similar views from others classified as ‘a little bit old school’ garbage. Outdated like a fossil takes should be held accountable.”
Under what circumstances does taking leave from your job, to support you family and children, make it ok for this sort of commentary? I’ve heard similar views from others classified as “a little bit old school”
Garbage, outdated like a fossil takes should be held accountable https://t.co/tjPXsXNjX1
— Will Schofield (@WillSchofield) June 14, 2021
In more of a comical response, his ex-teammate Xavier Ellis sarcastically remarked, "seriously Tim and Seb you owe it to Pepper Money, Deliveroo and Dare Iced Coffee (St Kilda's sponsors). Get the zoom app. 6 goals up."
Seriously Tim and Seb you owe it to Pepper Money, Deliveroo and Dare Iced Coffee. Get the zoom app. 6 goals up. https://t.co/VmfqLl85f0
— Xavier Ellis (@XaviEllis18) June 14, 2021
SEN Executive Producer Julian de Stoop also weighed in on Caro's comments over Twitter too.
St Kilda led Adelaide by 6 goals in tough conditions. Not having Membrey or Ross not the issue. Family more important than football. Very poor take
— Julian de Stoop (@jdestoop80) June 14, 2021
Former journalist Erin Marie also made her view pretty clear first thing in the morning.
Good morning to everyone, except Caroline Wilson with that trash take on #9FootyClassified last night
— Erin Marie (@ErinLMarie) June 14, 2021
It is fair to say that these comments look like they will be in the spotlight for some time yet.