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Patrick Smith defends controversial column on James Hird

Sports columnist Patrick Smith has defended a controversial piece he wrote about James Hird following his well-publicised health scare.

The Australian’s chief sports writer has come under fierce criticism over the column, which some said was unnecessary, given Hird’s state.

The situation reached tipping point when Hird’s father Allan, who spoke with 3AW Mornings last week, wrote a letter to The Herald Sun to voice his disgust with Smith.

But Smith told 3AW Mornings the article needed to be written, given much of the wider commentary that followed Hird’s hospitalisation.

‘I’m very aware of James’ position, but I’m also very aware that a week after James became ill and was taken to hospital that history was being re-written daily in the newspapers and on the internet,’ Smith said.

‘I just felt it was essential that we actually go back and remember what actually happened at Essendon.’

He rejected suggestions he was ‘kicking’ Hird while he was down.

‘I’m not kicking James while he’s down ? I’m very concerned about James Hird,’ Patrick Smith said.

‘If telling the truth is considered unfair, then we’re in a horrible position in our community.’

Click PLAY below to hear the full exchange with Tony Jones