Home Australia Players’ association chief slams AFL ‘consistently inconsistent’ over Finlayson ban for homophobia

Players’ association chief slams AFL ‘consistently inconsistent’ over Finlayson ban for homophobia

0 comment
A man wearing a black t-shirt.

AFLPA boss Paul Marsh has criticized the AFL for what he believes are double standards in its handling of Port Adelaide forward Jeremy Finlayson’s homophobic comments.

Finlayson was suspended for three matches on Wednesday for a comment made towards an Essendon player last week, and will also have to attend Pride in Sport training, for which he will pay.

During pre-season, North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson was fined $20,000 and given a two-match ban which was suspended for two years after he made a homophobic comment towards St Kilda players Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard. .

“We believe the AFL is consistently inconsistent and there is a double standard in its approach to dealing with players compared to others on behavioral issues,” Marsh, who acknowledged there is no place for homophobic slurs in football, said in a statement.

“This issue highlights the lack of clarity around how the AFL handles these situations and we want this to be the catalyst for an urgent review of the sanctioning framework.

“If this type of conduct is a three-week ban for one player, it should be for everyone involved in the game and this should be made clear to everyone in the industry from the start, rather than the open approach that currently exists.”

Perceived differences in the language used by Clarkson and Finlayson are believed to have influenced the different bans, with Clarkson using the term “c*** s*****” towards the two players, while Finlayson called an individual opponent “F*****.”

Ian Roberts said he believes education is the answer to the current issues surrounding homophobia in sport.(ABC News: Housnia Shams)

Pride in Sport national manager Beau Newell said he hoped the training Finlayson will receive will help him become an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community.

“Hopefully, you’ll be able to come out of education with a lot better information about how to be a better ally to the community,” Newell told ABC News Breakfast.

“The importance of this cannot be underestimated. I think it is really important to recognize the fact that this is a positive step for Jeremy in particular and for others in the clubs who will be involved in education.

“It’s also very important to note that across Australia this behavior occurs far too often and education is a really important piece of the puzzle here, particularly when we want to eradicate this behaviour.”

Former NRL player and gay rights campaigner Ian Roberts said the problem of homophobia was particularly serious in men’s contact sports.

“You just have to look at the success of the Matildas in recent years and the way women’s football seems to embrace same-sex couples,” Roberts said.

“Unfortunately, in men’s sports, particularly contact team sports, it is still considered a real weakness.

“We’re talking about a broader community culture where calling someone gay is insulting them and basically saying that someone who is gay is less than.

“I truly believe that our greatest shield and sword in the fight against this type of thing is education.”

Sports content to make you think… or allow you not to. A newsletter delivered every Friday.

You may also like