North Melbourne player Luke McDonald personally apologised to Essendon’s Conor McKenna for mocking his brush with COVID-19, Kangaroos coach Rhyce Shaw says.
McDonald was see covering his face with his hands during a half-time scuffle in Roos vs Bombers on Saturday, taunting McKenna over his coronavirus scare.
The “stupid” gesture was condemned by AFL greats over the weekend and Shaw was also unimpressed with his player.
“I want to address the Luke McDonald and Conor McKenna incident from the weekend,” Shaw told reporters on Monday.
“It’s not on and not something we stand for. Luke has called Conor and apologised.
“Luke was disappointed with himself after that game and we had a good chat about it. Conor was really good about it and respected the phone call from Luke.”
The AFL is reportedly considering whether to sanction McDonald over the incident, which came amid a spiteful match won by Essendon. He and McKenna were going at each other for several minutes before the offending gesture was made.
The taunt was likened by Bombers great Matthew Lloyd to Sam Mitchell’s infamous ‘jab’ taunt of Essendon players caught up in the club’s supplements scandal; for which Mitchell was forced to apologise but not sanctioned.
McKenna’s former teammate Brendon Goddard led the condemnation of McDonald.
“Is he trying to sledge a bloke for potentially testing positive for a virus?” Brendon Goddard, an ex-teammate of McKenna’s, said on ABC Grandstand.
“It’s a bit of a dig at Luke and questioning his intelligence but it’s kind of stupid, in my opinion.
“I always thought good sledge was one with a little bit of wit, but to pot a bloke about potentially having a virus … in today’s climate?”
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes told AFL Media: “I don’t expect a sanction, but I’d be a little bit embarrassed if I was Luke McDonald watching that vision back.
“I think just a ‘please explain’ [to the AFL is required]. I don’t think it’s worthy of a sanction, but it’s more the embarrassment of that being shown on shows like ours and across the weekend through no fault of Conor McKenna’s, really, that he’s contracted one of the most contagious viruses the world’s ever seen.”