Carlton icon Stephen Silvagni has come under criticism after rejecting a pair of invitations from the club to attend a presentation ceremony for his son Jack’s 100th game.
Jack Silvagni played his 100th game in the drawn season opener against Richmond, and received a customary presentation in the Blues rooms for reaching the milestone.
While Silvagni’s brothers, mother, partner and grandmother were in attendance, fans quickly noticed that his famous father was absent despite watching the game from a corporate box inside the MCG.
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During his speech Silvagni revealed that his father, who is currently St Kilda’s list manager, had opted to remain in the car while skipping the presentation, despite receiving an invitation from the club where he played 312 games.
Silvagni’s absence came after a messy exit from his post as Carlton’s list manager at the end of 2019 where he had fallen out with the club’s administrators.
While Silvagni’s sons downplayed the significance of their father’s absence, with Jack explaining that it was a decision made prior to the game, others including Hawthorn icon Luke Hodge were critical of his call.
“If I was in his position I would have gone down to have the photo,” Hodge said on Seven’s AFL coverage.
“Jack played and there was a family photo and he was sitting in the car for the photo. I personally would have had a photo with my son playing his 100th game.”
Veteran news presenter Jim Wilson labelled Silvagni’s absence “disappointing and petulant”, saying it was “very ordinary” of the Carlton legend to dodge the presentation.
Silvagni has spoken candidly about his messy exit from Carlton, where the club cited a conflict of interest as one of the reasons for his departure due to two of his sons being on the AFL list.
“What hurt me the most … probably when your president has a chat to you and he says I’ve fought for you, that the CEO felt as though I would sabotage the trade and draft period,” he said.
“I hate talking about myself, but when you’ve played for a club for 17 years and you put your body on the line and supported the club all your life, for a person to say you’ll sabotage the trade and draft period, and for me, an outsider that’s come into the club and doesn’t know a lot about the club or me, that was probably the most disappointing out of everything that happened.
“Looking back at the press release, it puts the boys (sons Jack and Ben) under the bus and it was amateur, to be honest.
“That was probably the most hurtful thing. I think your two biggest assets at a football club are your supporters and your players.
“It got messy in the end.”
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