A media controversy has erupted around Richmond Tigers star Dustin Martin, after a former AFL premiership star labelled him 'petulant' for ignoring a journalist's questions.
Martin, who took a leave of absence earlier this year to grieve the passing of his father, was going in for scans on his injured hamstring on Tuesday when he was approached by AFL reporter Mitch Cleary.
Footage showed Cleary asking Martin how he was feeling, to which the Richmond midfielder offered no response and continued walking.
It was later revealed that Martin would miss this weekend's match against the Gold Coast Suns due to the injury.
However the exchange left former Port Adelaide star Kane Cornes feeling as though Martin had unnecessarily stiffed Cleary, saying Martin had treated him with 'disdain'.
Cornes also said on SEN SA Breakfast that discussions with reporters also represented an opportunity for players to speak to their own supporters.
“It’s pretty petulant, don’t you think? I thought it was petulant from Dustin Martin,” Cornes said.
“You’ve got the game’s biggest star refusing to talk to basically Channel 7’s number one footy reporter, the host broadcaster, and looking at him with genuine disdain and completely ignoring him.
“There is a level of respect on how to treat people.
Richmond concedes Dustin Martin missing sessions in recent weeks contributed to his hamstring strain.
Plus - in a rare occurrence - hear from Dusty 🚘 🛑 🎟 https://t.co/RwcPCCQQpL
— Mitch Cleary (@cleary_mitch) July 4, 2022
"A lot of footy fans don’t rate the media and a lot of players don’t too, but I think it’s more about how you treat people and if you’re going to accept a $1.2 million cheque per year basically from media rights, I think there’s a real arrogance about that, and some people would say that’s overdoing it, but he refuses to do on-ground interviews after.
“You’re the game’s biggest star, I just reckon it’s not hard to just say, ‘Hey Mitch, I’m not sure mate, we’ll find out later in the week’. That’s all you’ve got to say.
“You’re speaking to the supporters as well. You may hate the media — but you’re speaking to the 100,000 Richmond members who never hear (from you).”
Dustin Martin media furore divides AFL world
Cornes' view wasn't necessarily shared by the wider AFL world though, with former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley unimpressed by the culture of 'doorstop' interviews.
He took to Twitter to slam the practice, and said he was curious as to why Channel 7 ran the footage when there had ostensibly been no update to the story about Martin's injured hamstring.
“No comment? Nothing to add to the story? Then what was the purpose of running the vision,” he wrote.
“Door stopping is the height of disrespect. It violates personal and private space and is no fun for the journos asked to do it, nor for the targets.
“It got the treatment it deserves.”
No comment? Nothing to add to the story? Then what was the purpose of running the vision?
Door stopping is the height of disrespect. It violates personal and private space and is no fun for the journos asked to do it, nor for the targets.
It got the treatment it deserves. https://t.co/vUscdm9mEZ
— Nathan Buckley (@ncb_cfc) July 5, 2022
Didn’t run on the news, only social media.
You know Dusty is 100-1 to stop but it doesn’t mean 100-1 winners don’t ever get up!
Your former Pies boys often give great content on the doorstop…
— Mitch Cleary (@cleary_mitch) July 5, 2022
Cleary himself replied to Buckley to defend the doorstops, saying that even though it was well known that Martin was highly unlikely to ever stop for a spontaneous interview, it was nonetheless worth a shot.
He also pointed out that the footage of Martin past him was only run on social media.
“You know Dusty is 100-1 to stop but it doesn’t mean 100-1 winners don’t ever get up.
“Your former Pies boys often give great content on the doorstop.”
The latest controversy comes not only on the back of an already tragic year for Martin, but also one in which speculation about a long-rumoured move to one of the Sydney-based teams could yet be on the cards.
Rumours have swirled around a potential Martin move north, even after he opted to remain with Richmond in free agency several seasons prior.
3AW sports reporter Sam McClure said the Tigers had already indicated to the club champion that any potential move, either after this season or later on, would be met with support from the club.
“I think as we sit here right now there’s a very large chance Dustin Martin won’t be playing at Richmond next year,” he said.
“Sydney keeps getting mentioned … he’s had a love of Sydney and if he wanted to go there, they would move heaven and earth to make it happen.
“Damien Hardwick was on record not long ago saying if (Dustin Martin) wanted to go, he would go with (Hardwick’s) blessing.
“But he has two years left on his deal, so it’s easier said than done.”
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