Home Australia ‘Incredibly awkward’: AFL great Bartel against Thomas’ potential return

‘Incredibly awkward’: AFL great Bartel against Thomas’ potential return

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'Incredibly awkward': AFL great Bartel against Thomas' potential return

Geelong champion Jimmy Bartel says he would be “incredibly uncomfortable” if Tarryn Thomas was given another chance to revive his AFL career amid a club-led push to condemn violence against women.

AFL players, coaches and referees will hold a moment of silence to honor victims of domestic violence during this weekend’s round of games, which begin in Adelaide on Thursday night.

On Wednesday, Essendon coach Brad Scott indicated he would be prepared to throw a lifeline to Thomas, whom he coached as a youngster at North Melbourne.

Thomas, 24, has been out of the AFL system since the Kangaroos sacked him in February after the league suspended him for 18 games for threatening a woman and other misconduct.

He will not be able to join another club until at least the end of the season and needs to pass another behavior change program before doing so.

“As an industry, do we wash our hands of it and say we’re done with it? Or do we help it? I’d rather sit in the helping camp,” Scott said.

But Bartel, who also sits on the GWS board, was not convinced Thomas’ redemption would have to come through yet another opportunity at AFL level, indicating he was leaning more towards a “tolerance” approach. zero”.

Bartel spoke out in 2016 about the domestic violence that he, his mother, and his siblings suffered at the hands of his father.

He also grew a beard for the entire 2016 season to raise awareness about domestic violence.

“Personally, I feel very uncomfortable with this,” Bartel told the Nine Network.

“I understand the whole premise of forgiveness and opportunities – he has had several opportunities with his alleged behavior, I’m just presenting it.

“But at some point there has to be a fork in the road, because the forgiveness angle hasn’t worked, because the numbers are actually getting worse.

“I was part of a campaign, that was seven years ago, trying to very visually put the AFL as a leader, saying no to domestic violence, starting conversations, parents with children. And we’re getting worse.”

And he added specifically about Thomas: “At some point the privilege will have to run out.

“Playing AFL football, we talk about this with the drug issue, it’s a privilege to play in the AFL.

“It was a privilege to have multiple opportunities. And now you have the privilege of being talked to about getting another lifeline?

“Put your arms around him, support him, but you don’t have to do that at AFL level.”

The number of women murdered by intimate partners in Australia increased by 28 per cent in the 2022/23 financial year, and 89 per cent of victims of intimate partner homicides were women, according to a report from the Australian Institute of Criminology.

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