AFL clubs must stick with domestic violence policy
Geelong has been applauded for its decision to dump rookie Jesse Stringer for an extended period.
The defending premiers stood down the 21-year-old for the remainder of the AFL season and the next four weeks of the VFL.
Victorian police arrested Stringer for allegedly assaulting a young girl at his home last Friday morning.
Geelong has been praised for its actions, but will it come back to haunt them when higher profile players behave in a similar manner?
Although the matter is still only an allegation, the Cats stand by their punishment and are heavily supported by the AFL.
This instance comes just weeks after the government announced it would provide $240,000 to the AFL to start an educational campaign to stamp out domestic violence.
Violence against women by sportsmen or by any member of society should not be tolerated.
With such a strong stance on Stringer, does his sentence become a universal precinct for the club?
Geelong made an example out of the youngster. With the 21-year-old just coming into grade, the Geelong leadership group took the opportunity to stamp their authority and make a statement to the younger members of the playing roster.
Stringer made his debut for Geelong in round four and has played every game since.
The midfielder boasts impressive speed around the ruck for an eight-game player. Statistically, the midfielder has kicked three goals and four behinds for the club.
The Cats sit in seventh position after 13 rounds, a precarious position that could see the premiers push for the top four or slide out of the eight.
The youngster is a valuable asset to Geelong but is not a necessity if the club is to push for successive flags.
But will the same stance be taken on higher profile players or are there double standards for this behaviour amongst the senior playing group?
If a Bartel, a Mackie or a Hawkins committed such an offense, would the penalty be different?
Did the experience and profile of the player influence the Geelong’s decision?
These questions may seem premature, but will be the ones asked when Geelong or any other AFL team for that matter convicts a player of this offense.
Andrew Krakouer was delisted from the Richmond Tigers in October of 2007 after assaulting a man.
Assaulting a male and assaulting a female are very different offenses, so it is hard to compare the instances and gauge the penalties.
But one believes Geelong have backed themselves into a corner.
With Geelong taking a stance that was so popular amongst the AFL fraternity, it’s forced to make this a universal punishment amongst their roster.
This may hurt them in the future.
There is no set in stone agreement they cannot change the penalty, but they will leave themselves open to harsh public scrutiny.
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