Another allegation: are there no Saints in St. Kilda?
A young girl claimed that she was the victim of verbal abuse by St. Kilda AFL players at Melbourne airport after she asked for a photo for her friend.
It was alleged the players responded to her request by saying they only associate with “hot chicks…there should be no fat chicks (as part of player contracts).”
The St. Kilda Football club quickly acted on the matter after the unidentified girl’s mother wrote in to the club. They gave the girl a jersey and made a donation to the Butterfly Foundation. They also released this statement:
“The St Kilda Football Club can confirm we received a complaint from the mother of a young lady alleging comments were made by the players at Melbourne airport on Friday that upset her daughter. The Club has spoken to the playing group, and while there is some conjecture about the comments, the Club is mindful that sensitivities need to be respected. The family involved have indicated their appreciation for the professional way the St Kilda Football Club has managed the matter.”
But for comments such as these, surely the players in question would have to be suspended or at the very least fined. In a world where bullying is reaching new highs with the internet, respected AFL players have to try and set a good example for young people by deterring this sort of behaviour.
Now, we do not know the full extent of the story as privacies must be protected, but when the girl made comments such as, “Instantly my eyes filled up with tears, body image and how I look is important, so that comment, coming from someone who is in the public eye, made me feel like a monster.”
“Now I think everyone around me is thinking those things,” she said.
In light of these comments, the AFL has to seriously consider its stance on respect for fans.
AFL fans pay their own hard earned cash to fund a sport that produces these local, national and international stars. Essentially, they fund the players’ lifestyle.
Therefore, I do not see the problem with the investors wanting a photo.
This could dent the image of St. Kilda and the AFL, bringing the game into disrepute. Something further has to be done to eradicate this sort of behaviour. The right people have to at least sit with the players and find out the full story, then strongly act on it. This is outright bullying.
With that being said, has the club tried to protect its players a little too much in this instance? For a player to bully a fan, and then have no consequences, what does that say about St. Kilda?
Are they going into damage mode with this to try and avoid more scandals? In a perfect world, the player would be publicly shamed, made to apologise and stood down or fined a chunk of his wages.
But unfortunately, none of this will happen and the wrong message will be sent.
What are your thoughts, Roarers? What should St. Kilda do?
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