JAMES Hird has been one of football's legends.
Even for many of us who do not barrack for Essendon, Hird's on-field heroics are the stuff of legend.
Unfortunately, this stubbornness has ultimately been Hird's downfall.
At the time of writing this column, Hird was still coach of Essendon.
If he is still coach by the time you read this, then he is failing the game and Essendon.
The release of the charge-sheet against Essendon, Hird, club doctor Bruce Reid, assistant coach Mark Thompson and manager Danny Corcoran has sealed the deal for most football followers.
The most sympathy should be extended to Reid.
The letter from Reid to Hird early in 2012 reveals Hird's obsession with gaining a performance edge based on an injection regime.
Reid, a legend at Windy Hill, tried to warn Hird and the club. "We should be winning flags by keeping a drug-free culture," he implored.
His crime was in not exposing the club and coach he loved by walking out the door and going to the AFL.
Amazingly, Essendon doesn't seem to comprehend how it failed the game and the young men entrusted to its care.
The fact that one mother, Sarah, went on radio during the week and described the players as "guinea pigs" was hugely damaging.
This was a workplace, not a laboratory, and surely sport hasn't reached a stage where hundreds of injections are required to be competitive.
The legality of the anti-obesity drug AOD-9604 has also being overplayed.
These players were not obese, so injecting them with this drug was clearly aimed at some other advantage. Plain wrong.
The club presidents met on Thursday and threw their total support behind the AFL Commission to hear and resolve this matter.
What Essendon and Hird seem to forget is that they are part of AFL Inc., which is controlled by the AFL Commission.
The AFL writes the rule book and it enforces the rules.
It is impossible for anybody to look at the evidence against Essendon and Hird and conclude that they haven't brought the game (and that AFL business model) into disrepute.
The AFL brokers huge television pay deals and sponsorships and allocates those to the clubs - the value of those deals and the livelihoods of other clubs are now threatened and diminished by the actions of Essendon and Hird.
It was reported that the penalty offered to Essendon included a $2.5 million fine, a 12-month ban for Hird, draft bans for two years and no finals in 2013.
That offer should have been snapped up - instead, Essendon is now totally isolated.
If it was good enough for Melbourne's Dean Bailey to get a 12-month ban for an unproved tanking claim, then Hird's offer was generous.
Hird now runs the risk of making himself a pariah in the game and almost unemployable, which would be a sad consequence of his stubbornness.
The Essendon 2013 motto of "whatever it takes" will haunt the club for years because ultimately it sums up where Hird has taken the Bombers.