James Hird: Releases the lid right off!


# Jon Ralph: Why the AFL should employ James Hird as a mental health ambassador

James Hird’s reintroduction to the footy media world turned out to be another opportunity to kick him until it hurt.

The Essendon champion’s “never say never” comment allowed the usual suspects to trawl over past misdeeds with some added spice.

But a return to coaching aside, Hird might have another more important role in football.

In a year in which the AFL and its player union have both tagged mental health as the league’s most prominent issue, Hird could change the conversation like few before him.

For that reason there is no better person than Hird to be an AFL mental health ambassador or consultant, using his story to educate and help players.

Stripped of ego or embarrassment, he won’t hide from his issues.

“Funnily enough, it is not something I am embarrassed about, or don’t mind talking about,” he said last year.

“There are a lot of things in my life that I want to keep very quiet. But that part of my life, for some reason, I don’t think it needs to be private and I need to talk about it, about the effects it had on me and other people.”

It was a point he repeated in the Triple M commentary box — openly confront your issues and talk about them instead of pretending they never happened.

Former Carlton player Jake Edwards runs the Outside the Locker Room program. In part Edwards uses his story after he attempted to take his own life while an AFL player.

He said yesterday there was no figure more powerful in the game than Hird when it came to destigmatising mental health.

“Like Hirdy said, he’s not embarrassed about what he has been through and nor should he,” Edwards said.

“The clinical side of treatment is really important but, in order for people to relate, sharing stories is really important, especially in our era which comes from a place of ego and pride,” he said.

“To have someone of Hirdy’s status talking about his experiences and his mental health and how he got out the other side, I can guarantee that would be a positive experience for all AFL players

Hird’s cross to bear for the rest of his life is that he will be one of football’s most polarising figures.

But even if he never finds his way back to senior coaching he has already changed attitudes on mental health to such an extent that it should make his critics sit up and take notice.

(no link, behind a paywall)


Well written article with lots of merit


Well, it’s been 2 weeks.


I agree.

You should aim higher.


That second last paragraph in particular is pure Ralph, taken from the AFL playbook, as he did throughout the saga, one of the braying hounds who did untold damage to Hird.
Waiting for him to write an article on the AFL adverse contribution to the mental health of a few in the football community


I do not forget, or forgive, that easily.


Jon Ralph can go Fark himself!

He was one of the worst offenders during the saga.

He rivalled the witch for profiting off our clubs misfortune.

Great to see Hirdy is getting respect back in the community though.


Hird is an amazing man. I’ve always been disgusted with the two faced media minions who write articles about mental health concerns after their relentless denigration of James with no care for his or his family’s mental health.


I actually struggle with journos like him as they are now trying to write articles but they refuse to acknowledge the role that they played in the saga and the surrounding frenzy. If (at any stage) they bothered to their job with integrity, the situation would not have been so hate-fuelled. One quick look at the comments on that article show the long term damage that they have done to Hirdy. Even the passing of time isn’t diminishing the hate.


Yep, I will never forget what those vultures did to our club and Hirdy in particular.


Some great posts above and I absolutely agree with all.

Fairybread is correct, every two weeks one of these disingenuous low life characters will either come up with new spin to get James to make them money or rehash old stuff.

Utterly pathetic.


■■■■ off “ralphy”


fixed for accuracy


Please employ Hirdy now in that role Essendon before another club does. Forget about ego and other stuff which still remain unspoken about and hidden, drop the ego and just do it.

It will be of great benefit to the whole club inside it and outside it. Do it, now.


Come on, guys. How can you be so hard on Ralphy - after all, the Club saw fit to give that Rsole a #1 guernsey.



There was a massive story as it was just focused on the “facts”. But the personal vindictiveness of the media against Hird made it not a news story but a character assassination. They made that call and they will forever be judged by it.


Not to mention the months they spent camped on his front lawn with absolutely no regard or concern for the impact this would have on his family- no care for his kids at all.


Ralph could write a follow up article :
IF the AFL were to hire HIrd as a Mental Health Ambassador

  • content of the article documenting the AFL effect on his and others health


But, but poor Caro was scolded by Hirdy’s daughter, remember, then it became poor, poor Caro me. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


In my mind, and to everyone I speak to, their names will be tarnished and disparaged, along with any organisation they are associated with for as long as Hird’s name is, in the mouths of the unwashed.