Georgie Parker has responded to the furore after a photo of her from 2017 was dragged into the AFL’s groping scandal.
The former Hockeyroos and AFLW player was snapped with her hand on the backside of teammate Kathryn Slattery before a game for Australia in 2017.
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The 31-year-old proudly has the photo as the cover image on her Facebook page.
But in light of the controversy engulfing the AFL in recent days in which a number of players were forced to apologise for touching teammates inappropriately, the photo of Parker and Slattery was thrust back into the spotlight.
Many social media users re-posted the photo of Parker, questioning why there wasn’t the same level of condemnation in 2017 as there has been for the AFL players in 2020.
Parker now responded to the controversy, posting a screenshot of a comment from Slattery at the time the photo was taken.
“Come touch my butt again plz Georgie Parker,” the comment reads.
The Olympic and Commonwealth Games star also told the ABC: “I did a little bum tap to my teammate after every anthem I got to sing with her … photos can get taken out of context.”
Parker also made a number of points claiming her incident was very different to that between Nick Vlastuin and Jayden Short towards Richmond teammate Mabior Chol.
“1. Bum tap very different than any other grope,” she wrote on Twitter.
“2. Good luck stamping them out. 3. We had players who hated being touched so would never do this to them – respect always. 4. An image can often looks ‘worse’ than an actual incident, worth keeping in mind. 5. Probably not a great look to touch someone’s Aubergine on prime time tv, a lapse in judgment from them. 6. Calling sexual assault and outrage on someone else’s behalf is peak 2020. 7. Is this really what we are going to crack it over at the moment? Honestly.”
I haven’t been calling for anyone’s changerooms behaviours to change. You may look on my page for my opinion on this.— Georgie Parker (@georgieparker) August 11, 2020
Former NRL player Brett Kearney expressed his support for Parker, questioning why she was being forced to defend herself.
“I’m not sure why you’re having to defend yourself,” he commented.
“Chol appeared to be uncomfortable by the action. If he was having a laugh with his teammates the public would have seen the footage as light hearted fun. If it was seen at all.”
Im not sure why you're having to defend yourself.— Brett Kearney (@BKKearney) August 11, 2020
Chol appeared to be uncomfortable by the action. If he was having a laugh with his teammates the public would have seen the footage as light hearted fun. If it was seen at All.
AFL brings in sex discrimination commissioner
The AFL has now sought advice from Australia's sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins following a series of “inappropriate” groping incidents between players.
All 18 clubs will be briefed this week after post-game footage from Richmond and St Kilda’s rooms came to light, forcing both teams and the players involved to apologise for the behaviour.
Vlastuin and Short were caught on camera inappropriately touching Chol, as was Saints forward Dan Butler with Jade Gresham.
After releasing a brief statement last Friday labelling the incidents as “juvenile”, the AFL has gone a step further by talking to Jenkins and Our Watch chief executive Patty Kinnersly.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said issues surrounding respect and appropriate conduct will be addressed with club chief executives, coaches and football managers.
“We condemn the behaviour and need to learn from what happened,” McLachlan said.
“Where we fall below the standards expected of us, we need to acknowledge that and take the appropriate steps to learn and improve.
“The AFL and our clubs have made a strong commitment to gender equality and respect and responsibility.
“As part of this ongoing cultural change in our industry we need to ensure inappropriate conduct is not acceptable, whether it is the office or the changeroom.
“What we saw in recent times with players from a number of clubs touching each other inappropriately is clearly not the standard of high performance in the workplace that we could - or should - accept.”