You can take a player out of the AFL, but you can't take the AFL out of the player. Revered former AFL star Michael Long, of the Bombers, will front the beak next month over an alleged bout of late-night bashing in a Darwin pub. The Aboriginal footballer has been held in high esteem by many Australians, but sadly, may yet prove that their faith was misplaced.
Both The Australian and The Age seem to be running the same basic copy (NB: Age cited here since it stays online longer.)
Long, 37, a former premiership player with AFL club Essendon, will deny allegations he assaulted David Henry in Darwin's St Mary's social club after the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) grand final on March 25, his lawyer said.
Mr Henry has accused the Aboriginal sporting hero of striking him four times in the head during a late night altercation.
Long was later charged by police with assault.
Long's lawyer David De Silva told Darwin Magistrates Court on Tuesday that his client, who was interstate, intended to contest the charge.
Registrar Brenda McGarrity adjourned the assault matter until November 16. (The Age, 9/10/2006)
There's no doubt that Michael Long has done much to advance the interests of indigenous people in this country, especially indigenous footballers. But if the allegations are true, that's hardly an excuse. Hell, if Nelson Mandela beat someone up in a pub fight I'd be equally condemning. While his (non-football) service to the community might be a factor in any sentencing, let's hope it doesn't influence findings of guilt or otherwise.
We'll be following this story closely, along with the upcoming trials of current Magpies Brodie Holland and Alan Didak.
Citations: The Age, 9/10/2006
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