HAWTHORN coach Alastair Clarkson has offered an unreserved apology for his remark about “disgraceful umpiring” after Saturday’s AFL loss to Gold Coast.
Clarkson was asked about a 50m penalty incurred by Hawks youngster Kaiden Brand late in the 16-point loss and the four-time premiership coach was frank in his response.
“I’m not allowed to comment on disgraceful umpiring so I’m better off not saying anything, aren’t I?” Clarkson said.
He also referred to some “dubious” decisions made at the MCG although he did clarify that he didn’t think the umpires cost his side the game.
By Sunday he regretted his post-match comments.
“It was probably a poor choice of words,” Clarkson told Fox Footy.
“I went to the press conference with the full intention of trying to educate our members and the football public on just where Hawthorn’s at.
“I actually went in with the intention of not mentioning the umpires at all.
“In no way was I trying to tarnish the umpiring or the AFL, but I just got caught up in the emotion of the game. That decision had only happened 15 minutes earlier.
“I apologise to the umps and also to the AFL. It’s a really emotional game and I just got caught up with it.”
Clarkson will speak with AFL umpires boss Hayden Kennedy and umpiring director Peter Schwab on Monday, but had already made contact with the AFL’s football chief Simon Lethlean.
“I’m in regular dialogue with those guys,” he said.
“That’s why I’m disappointed in my comments because I speak to those guys nearly weekly, if not fortnightly. We have really good dialogue.
“I’ll speak to those guys (on Monday) but it’s an unreserved apology from my behalf.”
Umpires have long been the sacred cow of the AFL with public criticism off limits.
Clarkson accepts he will likely receive a warning at best and a hefty fine at worst.
“I’ll leave it with the AFL … I know my comments were out of whack but I was actually trying to bow out of the conversation,” he said.
“I just used one word (disgraceful) that was inappropriate and that will cost me I think.”
The loss consigned Hawthorn to 17th on the ladder with a 4-8 record.