K rock Football

AFL slams groping incidents

Richmond’s Mabior Chol in action during 2019. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

THE AFL has slammed “unacceptable and juvenile” groping incidents between players that have been highlighted in social and traditional media this week.

Richmond players Nick Vlastuin and Jayden Short were caught on camera inappropriately touching teammate Mabior Chol, leading to coach Damien Hardwick being questioned about the incidents on Friday during his weekly press conference.

More similar incidents, including one between St Kilda teammates Dan Butler and Jade Gresham, have since come to light.

On Saturday, the AFL took a stand against the behaviour.

“The actions of players touching several teammates inappropriately during post- game celebrations and / or during club theme songs is not in keeping with either club, community or AFL expectations,” the league said in a statement.

“The behaviour is inappropriate, unacceptable and juvenile.

“AFL players are professional athletes and set the example for the hundreds of thousands of kids playing football across the country.

“It is the responsibility of each club and the players themselves to ensure this inappropriate behaviour is not repeated.”

Vlastuin and Short on Friday apologised to Chol and Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale said club officials had checked on the 23-year-old, who said he had not taken any offence to his teammates’ actions.

“Several people have (spoken to Chol) on our behalf, just to check in and make sure that he’s okay,” Gale told 3AW radio.

“I mean several people, and just to absolutely emphasise that this is not something we accept or will accept and to make sure that he is okay.

“I can understand why people looking at this would feel really confronted. It’s a bad look and it’s got to stop and it will stop.

“But I think the opinion that really matters here is Mabior and, yes, he was surprised (by the groping). It was unexpected.

“But for him, it’s a non-issue and we should take that into account.”

(C) AAP 2020