Hird escapes suspension but not fine - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hird escapes suspension but not fine

By John Salvado and Chris Lines 16/04/2004 05:25:21 AM Comments (0)

James Hird has apologised to AFL umpire Scott McLaren in a bid to block a potential writ against him, with the Essendon captain docked $20,000 but escaping suspension for derogatory remarks.

The AFL decided against suspending Hird for his public verbal attack on McLaren last week, instead accepting the player's offer of a $20,000 donation to the league and ordering him to do voluntary work to promote umpiring.

Hird described the AFL verdict as "pretty fair and reasonable" following a lengthy meeting with the league commission.

The Bombers skipper had written a personal letter of apology to McLaren after singling out the umpire among criticism of "disgraceful" officiating in the Essendon-St Kilda game.

McLaren was still thought to be considering a legal case against Hird after the comments on Nine's Footy Show.

"My remarks were not intended to upset Scott or his family, and I accept that my remarks have unjustifiably questioned Scott's integrity as an umpire," Hird said on the program.

"I have had the opportunity to reflect on what I said and I wish to withdraw my remarks without any reservation.

"I now agree that Scott's umpiring was of a more than acceptable standard.

"I respect the role of umpires and I honestly think they do a good job performing a very difficult task."

Essendon was also hit with a $5,000 fine after the Commission ruled Hird was representing the club when he made his attack.

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