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Call for AFL to denounce Alistair Clarkson’s ‘unacceptable’ homophobic slurs


Herald Sun chief reporter Mark Robinson has called on the AFL to hit North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson with a “significant fine” for an “unacceptable” insult to Jimmy Webster.

Clarkson apologized to Webster and St Kilda for apparently calling Webster a “c***sucker” in a heated moment that included other Saints players during the quarter-time break of the weekend’s training match – an exchange Fox Footy had a vision of – following Webster’s massive hit on Jy Simpkin.

In a Herald Sun columnRobinson said if Clarkson was not punished with a “significant fine” then “the AFL is telling all footballers it is OK to use homophobic language – as long as you apologise”, imploring AFL football boss Laura Kane to “enforce a law”. code of Conduct”.

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“And just as community expectations call for a lengthy suspension for Webster, in the midst of the concussion debate, the community expectation is that you cannot call someone a sucker and not be punished.” , Robinson wrote.

“What a dirty line from an AFL coach. What if Webster was gay and Clarkson had just outed him? And if he’s not gay, the conclusion is shocking.

“As the leader of our sport, it is imperative that the AFL represents the expectations of the community.”

Robinson on Fox Footy AFL360 expanded on his story, saying there “must be” a greater penalty for Clarkson’s actions – not just agreeing with the four-time premiership coach’s excuses.

“Think of any other major sport in the world where one of the most important and respected figures uses – we’re not even going to say it, but you should know by knowing – that language, and the league says ‘It’s OK, you can be homophobic,'” Robinson said AFL360.

“Clarkson might say it’s not homophobic, but it is a homophobic word. If he made a racist comment, would the AFL come after him? Of course they would.

“What is the difference between racist and homophobic language? The AFL cannot preach inclusion and diversity and have one of its senior game officials put that word on a platter in the heat of the moment.

“It’s not an apology in the heat of the moment, because if we start giving excuses to everyone, we will forgive everyone.

“I think he should be fined, others have told me today he should be suspended.”

Companion AFL360 Co-host Gerard Whateley said the matter was twofold given that in addition to the allegedly inappropriate language used, an interaction between a coach and a player “has always been frowned upon”, adding “you put that together and demand a action”.

“I think a fine would be appropriate in this case. I’m not always a big fan of imposing fines, but I think given what it is, it looks good to me,” Whateley said.

Asked about the matter later in the programme, AFL CEO Andrew Dillon said the league was still investigating what happened between Clarkson and the St Kilda players.

Dillon said that until the league conducts its own investigation, he cannot speculate on possible sanctions.

“First of all, I think senior coaches or officials approaching players during breaks in play is not something we want to see anyway,” Dillon began. AFL360.

“When you overlay what has been reported, this is the language that Alastair has already said and said it was inappropriate. This is something I don’t like and we don’t need it in our game.

“We don’t want to get ahead of the process, so we’re making an explanation and giving Alastair the opportunity to come back to us. We will speak to St Kilda and once we have all that information we will look at it and compare it to our rules and then we will treat it that way.

Dillon added that if there was found to have been a breach of the AFL code, coaches would be reprimanded like anyone else participating in the game.

“Ultimately you have to look at every incident and every action based on the facts,” the AFL boss said.

What we will do now is go through a process to discover these facts before making a final decision.

Originally published as ‘Unacceptable’: Calls on AFL to target Alistair Clarkson for ‘dirty’ homophobic slurs

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