Dan Butler has issued an apology after the St Kilda player was the third to be caught on camera groping a teammate in the dressing rooms after an AFL game.
The AFL world reacted with shock and anger on Friday after footage emerged of Richmond players Nick Vlastuin and Jayden Short groping the genitals of teammate Mabior Chol.
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Vlastuin and Short have since apologised for their actions, which were described as “repulsive” and “horrific” by AFL commentators and players.
But the league has been plunged into further controversy with fresh vision emerging of Butler grabbing Saints teammate Jade Gresham.
The incident occurred in the St Kilda dressing rooms on Thursday night after they beat Gold Coast.
The former Richmond player, who joined St Kilda this year, told the Herald Sun his behaviour “isn’t appropriate and it will not be repeated”.
“It wasn’t a premeditated action, and I have spoken to Jade and apologised,” he said.
Gresham said he didn’t take offence to Butler’s actions, while St Kilda said “there is no context in which this behaviour is appropriate and will ensure it is not repeated”.
Richmond players apologise for actions
The matter came to light at a Friday media conference with Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, who was asked by reporter Hugh Riminton if he was aware of the incidents in the Tigers' dressing room after wins over the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions.
Hardwick said he was not and later cut short the conference after continued questions on the issue.
The club released a statement late Friday saying it had “become aware of some player behaviour during post-match team songs recently that is unacceptable and not in line with the club or community expectations.”
Vlastuin said in the 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.”
Fans have also taken to social media with footage that allegedly shows Jack Riewoldt performing a similar act.
Jack Riewoldt the game before pic.twitter.com/mayD3jlQid— Simon Hodgson (@SimonHodgson8) August 7, 2020
AFL world in shock over ‘repulsive’ incidents
The players have been widely condemned by fans and commentators, with Essendon great Matthew Lloyd declaring Riminton should be praised for bringing the issue to light.
“I think Hugh Riminton has done an amazing thing for our game because what he’s done is he’s put the spotlight on it,” Lloyd said on 3AW.
“I felt very uncomfortable watching it – I didn’t see at the time, but watching it since – for Mabior Chol. He could be well within his rights to knock Nick Vlaustin out, there and then, with what he did in that song.
“Imagine doing that on Tony Lockett after a game … he’d throw him into a brick wall. Hugh Riminton, what he’s done, is he’s stopped it across the board of the AFL competition.
“Richmond are a great football club but they’d be highly embarrassed because that was repulsive and an invasion on Mabior Chol, what went on.”
AFLW star Tayla Harris slammed the footage as “severely inappropriate”, while former Gold Coast Suns player Joel Wilkinson said it was akin to “sexual abuse.”
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
A white person groping an African/Black person is horrific and continues a horrendous historical pattern of racial abuse from white culture to black bodies. It must be stopped. @AFL @Richmond_FC you must be stopped.— Joel Wilkinson (@joelwilkinson) August 7, 2020
Good to see a journalist finally ask a direct question to Damien Hardwick regarding the abuse. The media are always scared to question and hold accountable the AFL and those in the industry in regards to black players.— Joel Wilkinson (@joelwilkinson) August 7, 2020