Clarkson, Franklin suffer in spotlight - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Clarkson, Franklin suffer in spotlight

By Roger Vaughan and Sam Lienert 04/06/2008 07:51:12 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson admits he and his star forward Lance "Buddy" Franklin have learnt tough lessons about the fierceness of the AFL spotlight.

The Hawks have endured a nightmare few days after their first loss of the season last Saturday against the Western Bulldogs in Launceston.

Immediately after the post-match media conference on Saturday, Clarkson had an expletive-laden vent at Tasmanian reporter Brett Stubbs over a pre-game story.

The incident was caught on camera and Clarkson has been in the sights of the media since.

On Monday, Franklin was the subject of allegations he had made crude sexual remarks to two women at a Melbourne nightclub and then thrown drinks over them.

The club strongly denies the allegations, but the "he said, she said" nature of the Franklin story and his profile as arguably the best player in the game guaranteed widespread media coverage.

In a frank interview on Melbourne radio station SEN on Wednesday morning, Clarkson compared Franklin to an old North Melbourne teammate of the Hawks coach, fallen AFL star Wayne Carey.

"I spend an enormous amount of time with about 44 players on our list, as do a lot of our coaching staff," Clarkson said.

"I had an enormous amount of time for `Duck' (Carey) and the way he went about things and I've got an enormous amount of time for Buddy Franklin and the way he goes about his footy and the way he goes about the way he carries himself.

"Unfortunately he's under an enormous amount of scrutiny and just like I've got to pull my head in, in terms of the things that I say, Buddy's got to be very careful with where he goes and what he does.

"That's just the harsh reality of having the profile (that he has)."

Clarkson admitted he should know better, but added Franklin was still learning how to handle the flip side of AFL stardom.

"They're bringing up stuff that was from years ago, he's still a kid at 21 years of age, it's an enormously difficult environment to have the profile that he's got and trying to manage," Clarkson said.

"I put my hand up as being a bloke who's been around the traps a bit and can say I'm fair game because I'm 40 years of age now and I should know better.

"But there's some young lads out there like Buddy who just haven't got the experience to know how to handle a lot of these things."

Saturday was not the first time Clarkson has lashed out at a journalist immediately after a media conference, but he denied his reputation as a media hater.

Clarkson also revealed he had apologised to Stubbs for Saturday's incident.

"I had a chat to Brett yesterday and I reckon I was a fair bit out of line, to be honest, on Saturday arvo.

"When you put yourself out there like that, you expect to be fair game and I've been fair game for the last couple of days.

"You live and learn, I think I need to change my ways a little bit.

"I reckon if I can do that it will help our footy club, it will help me and it will certainly help our playing group."

Clarkson handled the radio interview well - he was much more candid than his usual media appearances - but events outside the SEN studios on Wednesday morning did not proceed quite so smoothly.

TV news reports on Wednesday night again criticised him for apparently avoiding reporters on the way in and out of SEN.

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