'Because I'm fat': Netballer humiliated as umpire deducts points over short skirt

Mel Buttigieg

An adult netballer was left crying on court after she claims an umpire penalised her team two points at their grand final and said her body shape caused her uniform hem to sit too short.

Thirty-year-old Brisbane woman Rachael Brown said she had worn the same size uniform for years and this was the first time anyone had spoken to her about it.

She told the Brisbane Times an umpire spoke to her captain about Ms Brown’s dress length during a quarter-time break at Wednesday night’s match.

A Brisbane netballer has hit back at her netball association after she claims an umpire said her uniform was too short because she was fat. Pictures: Supplied

The player confronted the umpire about the alleged uniform breach, asking whether the hem was too short “because I’m fat”, the official said “yes, we’re deducting two points.”

While Ms Brown said the demerit did not affect the final’s outcome, the ordeal affected her performance.

“That whole quarter I was crying on court," she said.

On Wednesday night she raised a few queries about the incident on the Brisbane Netball Association’s Facebook page, before the post was removed.

“Not only am I quite upset about how I was treated playing a game of netball, Bradbury Park felt it necessary to delete what I had to say.”

“I'm usually one to just let it go, but this has hurt me and nobody should ever be felt this way about wanting to be active and play sport.”

“Shame on you BNA.”

Rachael Brown (pictured with teammates) said the public humiliation caused her to cry on court for the whole quarter.

In her original post, Ms Brown slammed the association suggesting she should have been pulled aside and addressed about the uniform issue, rather than being publicly humiliated in front of everyone.

"There is a right and a wrong way to tell someone that maybe their dress is a little too short and they should maybe consider a bigger dress size.

“Well done Bradbury Park for making someone feel like absolute s**t.”

In her follow up post she asked: “I'm 30, but if it was a teenager how would they feel?"

The Brisbane Netball Association said the sport was an 'inclusive game' which encourages participation by women of all fitness levels and sizes. Picture: Supplied

A Brisbane Netball Association official said in a statement: "Ms Rachael Brown was flagged by officials for allegedly not complying to Section 14E, which states: 'Uniform dresses must be of sufficient length to fall below the level of uniform bike pants when a player is in a normal standing position'.”

The association explained the rules were introduced in 2012 following feedback from parents to “protect adolescent girls from wearing inappropriate uniforms that infringe privacy”.

“Netball is an inclusive game which encourages participation by women of all backgrounds, fitness levels and sizes,” the spokesperson said.

The BNA said Ms Brown’s formal complaint would be sent to an independent tribunal for investigation next week.

"Following the independent tribunal to address this matter, we hope to see Ms Brown back on a BNA court in future."

A BNA official told the Brisbane Times the incident was the ninth uniform-infringement issue over its summer season.