The weekend is not yet over and we've already got our first nightclub footy "incident". This time, it's Richmond's turn to wear the pain and embarrassment of public player misbehaviour.
Injured veteran Ray Hall has been fined and suspended by his club following a "minor altercation" at a Prahran bar. (We wonder if it was the same venue that Alan Didak and Cassie Lane fought in?) Although police intervention was required, the club maintains there were no injuries. As details are not forthcoming, it remains to be seen just how "minor" the clash was. Sometimes, club spin doctors and the victims have divergent views when characterising the severity of player violence.
In the absence of police charges (to date), Hall's punishment consists of a $5,000 fine, a three week suspension (to be imposed once he's match fit) and a requirement to volunteer with homeless and disadvantaged.
We welcome the first two sanctions as being appropriate while we await the outcome of the police inquiry. But that last one is just weird. The chances of any disadvantaged - yet alone homeless - person being in a Prahran night spot of a Thursday evening is zero. What's the link between Hall's actions and his victim or the clientele? If the denizens of Chapel St were the recipients of his munificence, then it would make more sense. Surely homosexuals, teenaged girls in glitter makeup and young men in hoonwagons are the appropriate targets of his restitution efforts.
But what of the broader logic of requiring a player to undertake volunteer community work as punishment? It speaks volumes of how the AFL and its players perceive their high-profile charity work: it's not something to do because you want to help people. Or even to give back to the community that so generously supports you. No, volunteering is a grinding punishment and a means of getting back into the public's good books.
Very cynical stuff, Richmond, that cheapens the efforts those few who are genuinely well-meaning.
No, it wasn't Boutique - it was Revolver and apparently he was just there to play pool with mates when the fight broke out at about 1:30am. He was interviewed by police two days ago, and there's no further word of any charges. I guess that's it for the investigation.
On another note, seriously, does anyone go to Revolver to play pool at 1:30am? I would think that any physical contact with that venue would render you drug positive for weeks. Are players still tested while out on injury?
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