- Troubled star has been sacked by North Melbourne
- The AFL handed him a massive 18-week suspension.
- The No to Violence group will not ask for a lifetime ban
Sacked AFL footballer Tarryn Thomas does not need to be banned from returning to competition if he can show “radical change”, according to the head of the national peak body against male family violence.
No to Violence executive director Phillip Ripper said the advocacy group would not call for a lifetime ban from the league for Thomas, who he said still had the ability to transform his attitudes and behavior toward women.
The organization applauded North Melbourne and the AFL for their handling of the latest allegations leveled at the 23-year-old, who was sacked by the Kangaroos on Thursday when a league investigation found he had behaved inappropriately towards a woman.
The AFL handed Thomas an 18-week suspension, preventing him from returning to competition in 2024.
However, another AFL club could sign him next year, likely subject to approval by their board of directors.
Troubled Kangaroos star Tarryn Thomas was sacked by the club this week after an investigation found he had behaved inappropriately towards a woman.
Thomas is pictured leaving Melbourne Magistrates Court in February 2023
Thomas showed a lot of potential, but his career was marred by a series of off-field incidents involving women.
Ripper said there was no need to rule out the prospect of an AFL return for Thomas, but warned the kind of change he would need to show to make it acceptable “wouldn’t be quick”.
‘We would say that all men and all people have the capacity for change. If we didn’t believe that, we wouldn’t be doing the job we do,” Ripper said when asked if he would embrace Thomas’ return to the elite level.
“The degree to which people can achieve that change really depends on them and the amount of hard work they are willing to put in.”
‘We recognize that people like Tarryn likely have a long history of trauma, problems and complexity in their lives. While we encourage you to see the need for radical change in your life, we also understand that radical change is not quick.’
Ripper warned that the scale of the behavioral change required from Thomas meant he might never reach the standard required to return.
“It requires a lot of commitment, time and concentration, and it requires a lot of unlearning and relearning about ways of relating to others, respectful relationships and appropriate ways of relating,” he said.
‘Many people who end up using family violence in their relationships come from a history where they haven’t had great role models and need to learn new ways of being.
“We encourage you to continue working on that journey of change and believe that it is possible for everyone to make a change in their life.”
No to Violence chief executive Phillip Ripper said the advocacy group would not call for a lifetime ban from the AFL for Thomas.
North Melbourne general manager of football Todd Viney said Thomas has “behaved well” outside of the league.
Alastair Clarkson will have to try to get the Kangaroos off the bottom of the ladder without Thomas, despite his undeniable ability.
North Melbourne football boss Todd Viney said on Thursday that Thomas, who had been recalled twice in 2023 before the latest allegation against him, had “behaved outside” the league.
‘I can’t read Tarryn’s mind, but from my point of view there are two Tarryns. “He’s the one you see day to day and the one who’s in a relationship and when he’s having some trouble dealing with relationship issues,” Viney said.
‘I spoke in the middle of last year. You behave well or you behave badly and, unfortunately for Tarryn and his behavior, he has behaved badly.’
No to Violence issued a statement on Friday praising the AFL and the Kangaroos for their stance.
“It is fantastic to see football, a bastion and role model for masculinity, saying no and setting clear boundaries and helping to shape community attitudes,” Mr Ripper said.
‘We are pleased to see the AFL and North Melbourne take a stand and condemn disrespectful behavior against women.
“All of these things are connected: when influential individuals and organizations report violent, abusive and controlling behavior, they show men and boys around the world that these types of behaviors are no longer valid.”