Damian Barrett has defended his reporting on the issues behind Sean Dempster retiring from St Kilda.
Barrett initially reported last Wednesday on the Footy Show that Dempster was considering his future but that it was “not injury related”, and that the ex-Saint was “extremely disappointed” at not being picked for round one.
Dempster then retired yesterday, citing medical advice about a series of concussions he’d suffered during his career.
On the way out, he took a swipe at the media about the discussion surrounding his retirement.
“It wasn’t what’s been reported in the media that I was upset with the club about not being picked for Round 1 and that there was all this angst and hate between me and the club,” Dempster said in a statement on St Kilda’s website.
“I’m quite a quiet person so for it to be played out in the media was a bit hard for me to deal with. I’ve been lucky enough to go through 13 or 14 years as pretty much an unknown player, which I’ve been pretty happy with.
“For my character to be questioned a bit was upsetting for me, it was a little bit hard to deal with. I felt like I had to get on the front foot and address the situation earlier than I planned.”
Barrett felt some of Dempster’s comments — including an interview with Fairfax Media today — were aimed at him, and responded on the Friday Huddle.
“I’m not backing away from my reporting of it, despite St Kilda supporters telling me that I should,” Barrett said.
“He was disappointed he was left out of round one. If he was selected in round one and then had form that warranted round two selection and then into round three this weekend, we would not be talking about this concussion issue.”
Barrett pointed to comments made by St Kilda coach Alan Richardson suggesting that Dempster’s form kept him out of the round one side, and said that Dempster didn’t want to play in the VFL.
“He played in the JLT 3 VFL, but did not want to play on the subsequent weekend and that is how it played out,” Barrett said.
“As such, the concussion issue has come to bear as a result of refusing to play in the VFL.”
Listen to the full conversation here: