Conor McKenna says that one thing he won't miss about Aussie rules is its media coverage. The Tyrone man announced his immediate retirement from the AFL on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, the 24-year-old found himself amid a media storm when he tested positive for Covid-19 but then also negative. McKenna was accused of putting the restarted AFL season in jeopardy.
"No matter what job you have in life there are always repercussions, but the way the media works in Melbourne there doesn't seem to be," the former Essendon Bomber told ABC's Catherine Murphy.
"There's just a free-for-all to say whatever they want.
"If there are no repercussions, they'll just continue to do that and treat players like a piece of meat.
"If there are no repercussions, why would they change? I think it's something the AFL should look at.
"It's not on and there's no real consequences for people.
"They're willing to say whatever they want so they can be the first person to say it, rather than being right. I definitely think they should be held accountable."
McKenna continued: "The reality of it is, I had a deadly disease... [but] people were more worried about the AFL being put off than my actual life.
"They put AFL football before me. No matter who it is, they should never be treated like that... one thing I won't miss about Australia is the majority of the AFL media. I think they're harsh and negative and don't take into consideration how people might deal with it.
"It's OK for me because I don't care what the majority of the media think about me, but if someone else was in that position it could affect them in a very bad way.
"The way the media acted for two or three days after [the positive test] was disgraceful."
Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE