Yesterday we reported that Tyrone's Conor McKenna had become the first AFL player to test positive for Covid-19, just a day before his Essendon Bombers were due to take on Melbourne in Round 3 of the competition. At the time, there was no suggestion that McKenna had done anything wrong or against the rules. Today though, that appears to have changed, with Australian press reporting that McKenna has admitted to breaking the strict rules imposed on players by the AFL.
According to the Herald Sun's Jon Ralph, McKenna attended an open house viewing and visited family and friends. This comes after another Essendon player Brandon Zerk-Thatcher breached the rules earlier this month and the club had given the entire squad strict warnings.
With McKenna now facing a quarantine, the AFL and Essendon are working on what other player will be forced to self isolate also. McKenna trained on Friday in a close contact training mini-group consisting of seven other first teamers. All seven will now likely be forced to self isolate, but it is feared there could be more in the squad, putting Essendon's participation in the games to come in jeopardy.
The AFL have said that they can deregister players who are in open and severe breach of their Covid restrictions. Ralph, speaking to Fox Footy, said on Sunday that McKenna is in big trouble and will likely be made an example of by the AFL, but thinks deregistering him might be a step too far.
I don’t think anyone feels like that’s (deregistration) the likely outcome, but certainly it will be at the very severe end of the scale there with the message they need to send to players that we need to look after his mental health, but we absolutely need to safeguard this competition.
I don’t think he’ll be suspended for a couple of weeks, I think it will be much longer than that.
Meanwhile, much of the coverage in Australian media and by fans on social media have been very negative towards McKenna's actions, with much of it being very over the top.
Some of the reporting about Conor McKenna’s positive Covid-19 test is SO disappointing.
He’s actually a human being. No one plans to catch a virus & take down the AFL.
For anyone actually concerned with his wellbeing, you’ll be pleased to know he’s going ok, considering. #AFL
— Catherine Murphy (@CathMurphySport) June 21, 2020