IT IS almost inconceivable that we are here again. Jordan De Goey overseas. Jordan De Goey captured on video acting in highly questionable ways.
But here we are, one more time. We are now entering the back half of this 26-year-old player's eighth season in the AFL system. Lessons which could have been learnt from a controversial past have not been learnt. Maybe, they never will be.
That a woman featured in De Goey's latest social media video presentation of his overseas partying ways has no problem with his actions is obviously key evidence for those determining the sanctions which now need to be applied against him.
But the fact that she has no problem with De Goey's wandering hand doesn't mean De Goey doesn't have a problem.
Collingwood will on Monday speak at length with their forward, after his return from another stint overseas, this one in Bali during the Magpies' 2022 season bye. Just late last year when in New York at a nightclub, his actions resulted in police charges.
It will almost certainly be the Magpies, not the AFL, which officially hands out the disciplining of De Goey, most likely at some stage on Monday. History of such player behavioural matters would suggest the AFL would sign off on such an outcome before it became public. And that's the way this matter should be treated. Seemingly, and this is before De Goey has been properly interrogated in-person by club officials, he hasn't broken any laws.
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Everyone will have an opinion on what should happen from here, and here's mine. As questionable, as ridiculous, as juvenile, as disrespectful, and as loose as De Goey appeared to be in that video, at this exact point in time I don't see any grounds to actually suspend him from playing football.
There should be meaningful, club-issued discipline, but banning De Goey from being at the MCG to play GWS next Sunday would not be right.
Suspending De Goey from playing for the behaviour seen in that video from Bali, and the subsequent statement by a woman in the video, would be setting, in my eyes, a dangerous precedent. Bulldog Bailey Smith and Giant Shane Mumford were suspended for two matches by the AFL when videos of their drug use were broadcast widely. That's the precedent, and De Goey's actions aren't technically law-breaking nor deserving of such sanction.
Collingwood, rightly, allowed De Goey to head to Bali in the break. It did not expect him to again find himself the subject of a video storm. The Magpies can't now act on what happened retrospectively, because of the media fallout.
Football clubs already have extraordinary control over every aspect of a footballer's life, and De Goey, like all players, should be free to holiday wherever he wants in his own time.
With regards to De Goey's time in elite football, which began with Collingwood using pick No.5 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft and now has 130 matches behind it, it is a valid argument that a fully committed AFL player would have avoided placing himself in a Bali nightclub in this period. That De Goey did, clearly highlights the stark difference between his approach and the game's very best.
A 100 per cent focus on football for a footballer is often not a healthy way to live. Social blowouts, even for the elite – but obviously without questionable behaviour and certainly without video evidence – are often required not to just to get through a season, but a career. That's what most other professionals in other pursuits are allowed to do. It is what allows many other professionals to perform at their best at work. It can seem at times in the eyes of some media that it's only footballers who aren't allowed to.
On the available evidence at the time of writing – and I've checked in with all key parties by late Sunday – Collingwood needs to officially discipline De Goey. Meaningfully. But not with suspending him from match play. He's been an idiot. But you can't ban him for being an idiot.