Controversial media personality Sam Newman has defended the actions of Richmond players Nick Vlastuin and Jayden Short after they were caught on camera inappropriately touching teammate Mabior Chol.
Vlastuin and Short have apologised to Chol after footage of the pair groping the genitals of their Tigers teammate during the post-match team songs went viral on Friday.
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The matter came to light at a Friday media conference with Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, who was asked by a reporter if he was aware of the incidents in the Tigers' dressing room after wins over the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions.
On Saturday the AFL slammed the “unacceptable and juvenile” groping incidents but now former AFL player and media personality, Newman, has weighed in on the furore.
Newman has taken aim at the critics and claimed the players simply just “get on extremely well” with each other.
“Grabbing someone on the crotch in the rooms after a victory, is hardly being ‘groped’,” Newman tweeted.
“Just means the lads in question get on extremely well with one and other - or they wouldn’t have done it. Stop with the cow-eyes.”
Grabbing someone on the crotch in the rooms after a victory, is hardly being ‘groped’. Just means the lads in question get on extremely well with one and other - or they wouldn’t have done it. Stop with the cow-eyes.— Sam Newman (@Origsmartassam) August 8, 2020
However, the majority of people did not share Newman’s view with AFLW star Tayla Harris taking to social media to slam those defending the actions of the Richmond players.
“The justification of this is extraordinary, the comments are unbelievable,” she tweeted.
“These men are role models, kids playing junior footy see this on teli and think it’s okay. IT IS NOT OKAY.
“I don’t care about the ‘boys club’ BS, this is severely inappropriate, grow up.”
The justification of this is extraordinary, the comments are unbelievable. These men are role models, kids playing junior footy see this on teli and think it’s okay. IT IS NOT OKAY. I don’t care about the ‘boys club’ BS, this is severely in appropriate, grow up 🤦🏼♀️ https://t.co/O0SvskwpWP— Tayla Harris (@tayla_harris7) August 7, 2020
AFL condemns ‘unacceptable’ groping incidents
Vlastuin said in the club statement: “It was a stupid action and I am deeply embarrassed. I've apologised to Mabior.”
Short added: “It was unacceptable behaviour and a poor example.”
Chol said he took no offence.
“I have no issue whatsoever with those players, or any of my teammates, but understand that is not the sort of example we should be setting,” Chol said.
The Tigers said they were “committed to providing a safe workplace environment.”
On Saturday the AFL took a stand against the disturbing change-room behaviour.
“The actions of players touching several teammates inappropriately during post-game celebrations and / or during club theme songs is not in keeping with either club, community or AFL expectations,” the league said in a statement.
“The behaviour is inappropriate, unacceptable and juvenile.
“AFL players are professional athletes and set the example for the hundreds of thousands of kids playing football across the country.
“It is the responsibility of each club and the players themselves to ensure this inappropriate behaviour is not repeated.”