The Conor McKenna saga in Melbourne is still not over.
The Essendon star from Tyrone became the first AFL player to test positive for coronavirus since the league started up again last Friday. Essendon's game with Melbourne on the Sunday was postponed and McKenna was sent to a complete a 14 day quarantine.
Straight away, Australian media reported the story as an absolute disaster for the AFL. That McKenna was Irish was not overlooked in many reports while images of him blowing snot from his nose in training were shown across Australian TV constantly.
The following day, it was reported that McKenna had admitted to breaking quarantine rules and the media were off the races. We wrote about some of their behaviour here earlier this week.
It turns out the rules McKenna "broke" were not exactly black and white. He viewed open houses because his lease was up. You can do this under the rules, but only to buy, not rent. He visited the family who took him in when he moved to Melboune. You can visit actual family under the rules, but not a surrogate family. This was not mentioned in very many reports.
Then, of course, the next twist came when Conor McKenna tested negative for coronavirus in his next two tests. The most likely explanation, according to AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, is that McKenna had contracted the virus some time ago and still had remnants in his system that eventually showed up two positives despite seven negative tests previously, and two since.
It's all a little weird.
This week, there has been criticism of the way the Australian media have handled the encounter with plenty pointing. We were just one of a number of Irish outlets who covered the response.
Now, Irish journalist Catherine Murphy, who's based in Melbourne and works for Australian state broadcaster ABC, appeared on the channel's Offsiders programme on Sunday morning and took the media to task for their treatment of McKenna.
.@CathMurphySport absolutely savages sections of the media's treatment of Essendon's Conor McKenna. "This is something that has made headlines in Ireland ... what we saw this week doesn't even pass as journalism." pic.twitter.com/ZChOknpewC
— Offsiders ABC (@OffsidersABC) June 28, 2020
McKenna, and teammate James Stewart remain in 14 day isolation and it is still unclear if McKenna will receive a suspension for his "breaking" of the AFL's quarantine rules.