Daniel Connors finds himself on the AFL scrapheap, possibly not because of what he did on Monday night, but who he did it with.
Connors' career had been in the balance since his second club ban was imposed last year, and he knew it would take only one more minor infringement for his time at Punt Rd to come to an end.
So when he woke up late on Tuesday and looked at the clock and realised he would be late to training, he would have had a sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach.
And that feeling would have grown even worse when he remembered that Tigers' young gun Dustin Martin had decided to stay the night at his place having had a few drinks the night before.
Not only had Connors put himself in the gun of the Tigers' hierarchy, he had inadvertently brought Martin into his troubles as well. This wasn't going to go down well.
On the facts as they were presented to us on Wednesday, Connors' greatest crime was missing his wak- up call. Martin on the other hand, had been drinking on a Monday night and had taken an unprescribed sleeping tablet supplied to him by a friend, who the Tigers were at pains to point out was not Connors.
The man who finds himself without a footy club is not Martin, but Connors, who was made to pay for prior misdeeds. He had taken a sleeping pill, but that had been prescribed to him and the club saw no issue with that, despite his previous form for abusing sleeping pills.
The club pointed out that this was Martin's 'first sanction' and that a two-match ban was a stiff penalty for a youngster who had made an error of judgement.
But Martin actually made three errors of judgement. He drank ahead of a training session, he took a pill which he was not prescribed to take and he arrived late for training.
All three of these actions were his fault, not Connors', despite the older players' presence. The question was if the club saw it the same way.
The issue is not with the sanctions themselves, but the differential between the sanctions. On the facts as they stand, it opens the Tigers up to accusations of double standards.
Would the punishment have been different if Martin had a lower profile? Why two matches, does that coincide with the fact that the Tigers are expected to comfortably win the next two against Melbourne and GWS? Was this just an easy way of getting Connors out the door?
It also damages Richmond's reputation as a club of shelter, built on its decision to bring Ben Cousins in from the cold after his 12-month spell out of the game with drug issues.
Richmond forgave Cousins on several occasions, but the much younger Connors, who has promised to reform over the past six months and was handed his first game in over 12 months three weeks' ago, wasn't afforded that luxury.The third strike was an unlucky one. And Connors may well feel justified in feeling that it was the company he kept, rather than the hours which have drawn a close on his AFL career.
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