A high profile lawyer pictured partying with Collingwood club boss and media personality Eddie McGuire at a Gold Coast nightclub has leapt to his defence.
McGuire, 55, has come under heavy fire after he was spotted enjoying a night out with son Joe, 19, at popular nightspot Pink Flamingo on Saturday night while his AFL team and their families remain under strict quarantine.
McGuire himself has been a harsh critic of the ‘idiot’ players who recently breached the code’s strict quarantine protocols and called for anyone who broke the rules to be slapped with $100,000 fines.
Gold Coast criminal defence lawyer Ashkan Tai was pictured partying with McGuire on Saturday night alongside nightclub identity Joey Lamattina and was photographed giving a big thumbs up for the camera.
Eddie McGuire (centre) was slammed after he was pictured partying at the Pink Flamingo on Saturday night with nightclub identity Joey Lamattina (left) and lawyer Ashkan Tai (right)
Mr Tai has jumped to McGuire’s defence and called on critics to stop ‘whingeing about sports players in quarantine’ and focus on more important matters.
‘I think it’s (the photograph) been blown out of proportion, hundreds of people were out that night, following government rules and of course those implemented by the venue,’ Mr Tai told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
‘Every Aussie bloke, whether they are famous or not should be able to take their son out for a drink and not have to get their photo plastered in the media the next morning then be forced to offer an explanation.
‘The rich and famous don’t have to explain how they’re complying simply because someone who has got an issue with them makes a big deal.’
The new revelations come after McGuire, who is not staying at the AFL hub, defended his actions on Monday.
While his AFL team is forced in strict quarantine, the 55-year-old and his son, 19, were spotted enjoying a night out at the Pink Flamingo, on the Gold Coast, on Saturday night (pictured, Eddie McGuire with son Joe at the 2019 Footy Show Grand Final at Rod Laver Arena)
He decided to take his son and crew from his show Millionaire Hot Seat out for dinner and night out at the burlesque and cabaret venue in Surfers Paradise, having just completed his mandatory two weeks of quarantine in Queensland after leaving virus-riddled Victoria.
‘As you are well aware, I do a few different things in my life, including being on the board of Visit Victoria, and … speak extensively to people in the restaurant and hospitality industry about how we get Victoria going again,’ McGuire explained on on Triple M on Monday morning.
‘(That’s) part of what I was looking at the other night and how that all works.
‘What I did was I booked a dinner on Saturday night – the last night that I’ve got, because the next four weeks I’m flat out doing Hot Seat and hosting and all sorts of different things. I went through the procedure on how you go about doing things if you are outside the hub. ‘
Ashkan Tai (pictured right) called on critics to stop ‘whingeing about sports players in quarantine’ in the wake of backlash facing Eddie McGuire
He added his son Joe hadn’t been out much in 2020 due to lockdown.
‘(The people I was with) said, look, well, the best place we can show you is this place called the Pink Flamingo,’ McGuire said.
‘The people over at the restaurant said ‘come over and have a drink.
‘My boy is 19, he hasn’t been out for the best part of six months so I took him across and bought him a beer.’
Fellow footy heavyweight and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett called McGuire’s behaviour a ‘hell of a contradiction’, despite the fact the Channel Nine personality in no way breached the government or the AFL’s rules
Fellow footy heavyweight and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett called McGuire’s behaviour a ‘hell of a contradiction’, despite the fact the Channel Nine personality in no way breached the government or the AFL’s rules.
‘You can’t have one rule for one group of people and another rule for others,’ Kennett told the Herald Sun.
‘It looks silly. He probably hasn’t broken any Queensland laws, but he has put himself again at the centre of attention where this issue of conflict of interest continues to raise its head.
‘While he is out there jiving at the Pink Flamingo, his players and coaches are in a hub breathing stale air.’
Eddie (second right) was enjoying a night out with son Joe (left). They’re pictured with Eddie’s wife Carla and other son Alexander at the 2016 Melbourne Cup
McGuire has since hit back at Kennett’s comments.
‘Is that the bloke who said that people act like ‘bogongs’?,’ he said.
‘That’s how in touch Jeff is on things at times, as opposed to ‘bogans’.’
On top of his duties as president of Collingwood, McGuire is also a Fox Footy host and the longtime face of Channel Nine game show Millionaire Hot Seat.
AFL players, including from McGuire’s team the Collingwood Magpies and their families are holed up at the league’s hotel hub under increasingly strict conditions.
McGuire has openly condemned AFL players who have been caught breaching restrictions.
Eddie McGuire has defended his decision to enjoy a night out at the Pink Flamingo
Richmond Tigers players Sydney Stack and Callum-Coleman are currently serving a 10-game suspension after they were involved in a fight outside a Gold Coast strip club.
‘The idiot soup kicked in on them and they decided it was a good idea to break every rule they’ve been told for the last three months and as a result they got a full whack,’ McGuire said at the time.
Sydney Swans youngster Elijah Taylor was also sent home from the AFL’s hub after sneaking his girlfriend into the facility.
He has since been charged with domestic violence after an alleged altercation in the days after he departed from the league’s compound.
Meanwhile AFL players, including from McGuire’s team, and their families were holed up at the league’s hotel hub under increasingly strict conditions (pictured, AFL stars and WAGs relaxing by the pool at the Mercure Resort on the Gold Coast)
The AFL reportedly paid up to $3million a week to house 458 players and families in high-class locations including the 4.5 star Mercure Gold Coast Resort in Carrara.
AFL players and their families have access to games and training rooms, but can not play golf or other activities.
They must maintain a 1.5 metre distance and no more than three people can be in a room at any one time.
Players are allowed to visit each other in their rooms, but only for a maximum of two hours at a time.