Many would ask "Isn't it just vindictive compiling a list of the bad behaviour of Aussie Rules footballers?", to which I reply: Yes, it is. But I believe it's in the public interest to go some way to balancing the the misconception that because a person is a good kick of the footy, that they should be hailed and feted like superstars.
Wiser heads than mine have argued that, as I'm "actuated by malice", I am exposing myself to defamation action. Fortunately, it's a long-held legal principle that you can't defame a group and the local Anti-Vilification legislation does not yet protect footballers.
So, back to matters at hand, The Age (Melbourne's leading newspaper) has a nice wrap up of last year's season:
The controversy started in March when St Kilda players Stephen Milne and Leigh Montagna were accused of rape by two women and interviewed by police.
Both players were eventually cleared - and were not charged - but a flood of allegations from women against other AFL players followed.
It was revealed Port's Peter Burgoyne and ex-player Adam Heuskes had been charged with rape over an alleged incident, but later had the charges dropped.
It was also revealed the pair, along with Swan Michael O'Loughlin, paid the woman hush money to keep quiet.
In another allegation, a group of Hawthorn players were accused of gang-rape on a 1999 end-of-season trip in Hawaii.
For a code heavily reliant on family support, the bad news kept coming.
Hawks Lance Picioane and Danny Jacobs were caught drink-driving, while Carlton players Laurence Angwin and Karl Norman were sacked and sanctioned respectively by their club for arriving at training when they were believed to be under the influence of recreational drugs.
Collingwood players were involved in a mid-season drinking binge in Queensland that even had Magpies president Eddie McGuire criticised for not reporting the news as host of The Footy Show. (The Age, 18/12/2004)
Ahh, Eddie. Football club president and high-profile media commentator. "Conflict of interest" is just an old-fashioned term for "synergy" for you, right?
Citations: The Age, 18/12/2004
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