Steve Price defended his controversial column criticizing the AFLW as he got into a heated row with his co-hosts on The Project.
In a statement written to the Herald Sun on Friday, the media personality hit out at the standard of the women’s league and questioned the level of coverage and funding of the matches.
The conservative commentator had a dig at the low results of the women’s matches and the dwindling crowd participation and said drastic changes would be made if the same happened in the men’s matches.
“If you leave an AFLW game thinking you’ve seen a great game, you’re kidding yourself because even high school boys are better watchers,” Price said in his scathing review.
On Monday night, co-hosts Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar took exception to the story, but Price refused to budge.
“You knew exactly what you were doing and executed it perfectly,” Bickmore said.
Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly slammed Steve Price’s controversial AFLW article on The Project on Monday night
“Let’s look at some of the quotes from that: You go on to say that the AFLW is not elite sport and that the women’s version of the Australian football game is substandard. It doesn’t deserve the attention and funding it gets. So it’s on fifth year, things take time to build.’
Price replied: ‘The good thing about sport is you can all have an opinion and debate about it and that’s what I did.
‘I believe in it absolutely 100 percent. Again yesterday you had a point from one of the teams and the spectators simply do not go.’
He doubled down on his claim that the AFL has ruined the product by quickly expanding to 18 teams when there wasn’t enough talent, before Helliar ripped into Price for belittling young women’s dreams.
“I think about my sisters who are crazy and they would have loved to have dreamed of the opportunity – the opportunity to have dreamed of playing AFLW,” he said.
‘This is better than it was four years ago, it will continue to get better.
Price doubled down on the story, saying that was his opinion, and the crowd numbers suggested he was right
In an op-ed written for the Herald Sun on Friday, the media personality hit out at the standard of the women’s league and questioned the level of coverage and funding of the matches
Price replied: ‘Let me just clarify what I’m saying. I think the AFL went too early and too hard. There is not enough talent to fill 18 teams.
‘They should have gone more quietly and you wouldn’t have the problems you have at the moment. The media exposure is extraordinary for something that is not very good.’
Helliar then asked if the Herald Sun columnist simply didn’t like women playing physical sports, before Price defended his position by citing other sports he enjoyed watching women play.
Aly added that the women’s competition was lucrative for the clubs and the AFL-given sponsors are lining up to promote the product – suggesting his co-host is looking at the money it generates rather than just the quality of football.
“Do we accept that business and AFLs are making a very clear business decision, do you accept that they disagree with you and that they might have a good read of the market that you don’t?” he asked.
‘Maybe. This is an opinion piece. It is not a factual piece. That is my opinion. I don’t like it,’ Price replied, before Bickmore accused him of ‘bashing’ the AFLW.
‘I don’t think you understand that writing a column is about an opinion you have, and it’s my opinion. I don’t mind if you don’t agree with that, he said.
In an opinion piece published on Friday, the Herald Sun columnist hit out at the standard of the AFLW (pictured) and questioned the coverage of their matches
In the column, Price wrote that there should be a reduction in the number of teams in the AFLW – suggesting there is not enough talent for 18.
The broadcaster also said that in his opinion the male players in the second-tier Victorian Football League were ‘superior’ to the women’s league.
‘While country and big city football, until very recently, was starved of funding and ignored by the AFL, the women’s game has been promoted, funded and supported outrageously by an AFL that supports political correctness and an age of equality and inclusiveness in all aspects of our life, he said.
Tickets to an AFLW game are free for children, while adults pay $10 each.
While Price said “women’s sport is as good as elite men’s sport” and praised several successful female athletes and teams, his blunt view of the AFLW was met with heavy criticism on Twitter (pictured is Adelaide Crows)
Price said a recent game between the Gold Coast Suns and the West Coast Eagles had 860 people watching. He guessed the crowd was mostly friends, family and staff.
The commentator said opening the stadium to such a small number was ‘ridiculous and embarrassing’ for the AFL.
The decision to lift the minute’s silence following the Queen’s passing was another grievance Price had with the AFLW.
While Price said “women’s sport is as good as elite men’s sport” and praised several successful female athletes and teams, his blunt view of the AFLW was met with harsh criticism on Twitter.
“If he doesn’t like women’s footwear he just can’t see it’s that easy,” one tweeted.
‘Couldn’t disagree more…you are 100% wrong, I went to the Hawks v Swans game on Friday and left thinking ”Wow, that was good to see that live”. Everyone do yourself a favor and watch a live game,” commented another.
A third said: ‘If you leave a Steve Price piece thinking you’ve read a good article, you’re kidding yourself, because even high schoolers are better readers.’
‘No one asked for your opinion.. if you don’t like it don’t watch! Lots of people do and love to see the changes that come with the new seasons…come on mate,’ another user wrote.
The AFL Players’ Association also hit out at Price, saying his comments were ‘offensive and inaccurate’
One woman said: ‘It took the women cricketers time to catch up with the men… now look at them. It’s a process… clearly too difficult a concept for some.’
The AFL Players’ Association also hit out at Price, saying his comments were ‘offensive and inaccurate’.
‘Nearly 600,000 women and girls play football in Australia and viewership and membership are growing every year,’ they wrote.
‘We continue to be inspired by our AFLW members every day and the competition is a critical part of Australian football’s future – it’s time people got used to it. We can’t wait to see them this weekend on the football pitch.’