Social media was ablaze with controversy over the weekend after reports emerged of a Carlton spectator being removed from Marvel Stadium for abusing umpire Matthew Nicholls.
Reports conflicted as to whether the fan called Nicholls a “bald-headed flog” or a “bald-headed poof”, although the fan in question did call into Melbourne radio and insisted it was the former.
The vast majority of Twitter users were aghast, calling the move heavy-handed an infringement on the rights of fans to barrack and enjoy the game as they see fit.
But is that really the full story?
Is getting out of your seat, walking over to the umpire’s tunnel and hurling abuse directly to their face really ‘part of the game’?
Producer of the Game of Codes podcast and Roar assistant editor Stirling Coates jumped on the mic to make the case for the AFL adopting a tougher stance on fans who go out of their way to have a crack at the umps.
Listen to the discussion:
The ejection on Saturday is not the first high-profile incident of a fan being sanctioned for umpire abuse this year. A Richmond fan was suspended from attending AFL matches for three weeks after calling an umpire a “green maggot” earlier this season.