Action launched over infamous AFL camp
Collective Minds, the leadership performance group behind the Adelaide Crows' infamous pre-season camp on the Gold Coast in 2018, is hitting back.
Directors Amon Woulfe and Derek Leddie told The Advertiser their business has been severely impacted and their reputations ruined by ongoing negative media coverage of the camp.
They say an article by AFL journalist Sam McClure in The Age on July 4 and comments made by McClure and veteran commentator Caroline Wilson on Channel 9 were the final straw and they have initiated legal action for defamation against both media organisations.
McClure's article, which he said was based on interviews with six anonymous Crows players, included allegations camp participants were "tied to trees as teammates hurled personal abuse at them".
Other reports suggested the theme song of the Richmond Football Club - which had thrashed Adelaide in the 2017 grand final, creating significant mental scars - was played on a continuous loop as punishment and players were encouraged to swap wives.
But Woulfe and Leddie deny all those claims.
"Did the camp turn into a massive distraction? Absolutely. In hindsight, would we do some things differently in relation to the camp? Probably. Was it the catastrophic, damaging, and demeaning exercise that it has been painted by some sections of the media? Definitely not," Woulfe and Leddie told former Crows coach Graham Cornes in an extensive interview.
"It's ludicrous to suggest that we are responsible for the Crows' current poor form," they added.
They have also posted a statement about the camp to the Collective Minds website to existing and potential future clients.
"Dear client, we feel it is important that you hear directly from us in light of the continuing media speculation about our involvement with a pre-season training camp with the Adelaide Football Club (AFC) in early 2018," it reads.
"The AFL Integrity Unit conducted a full investigation in 2018, clearing Collective Mind and the AFC of any wrongdoing. Further to this, Collective Mind proactively held a media conference, open to all interested media, to ask any questions and discuss the camp in detail. "Despite the clarity that was created back in 2018, there have been ongoing rumours, mistruths and speculation that is not only incorrect, but damaging to our reputation.
"Collective Mind exists to provide performance-based mindset training, and our sole purpose and role is to support individuals and teams to become the very best version of themselves. This purpose guides and informs everything we do.
"The rumours do not reflect the people we are, our purpose or our approach. We would not design or endorse the program that has been described by the media."
McClure, who still has the July 4 article pinned at the top of his personal Twitter page, and Wilson have not responded publicly to the developments.
Originally published as Action launched over infamous AFL camp