Patrick Dangerfield has been forced to delete a tweet in which he took a cheeky crack at Peter Dutton after backlash from social media users.
Home Affairs Minister Dutton became the highest profile Australian to contract coronavirus on Friday, but declared he was feeling fine after testing positive.
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After waking on Friday morning with a temperature and sore throat, Mr Dutton admitted himself for a test which came back positive and he has remained in hospital in Queensland.
“I feel fine and will provide an update in due course,” he said in a statement.
Reacting to the news on Twitter, AFL superstar Dangerfield poked fun at Dutton and his controversial policies, writing: “Send him to Christmas island and see how he likes it.”
However the crack didn’t go down all that well with Twitter users, prompting the Geelong Cats star to delete the tweet.
He followed up by posting: “Blank tweets from now on.”
Blank tweets from now on...— Patrick Dangerfield (@dangerfield35) March 13, 2020
Some labelled Dangerfield’s deleted tweet ‘spineless’ and ‘pathetic’, with many slamming him for making light of the deadly virus.
Old mate and perennial finals flop @dangerfield35— Punt Road’s Scholar (@DrPaulWhite4) March 13, 2020
is a representative of @AFLPlayers @AFL
Not a big personal Dutton fan either, but he has contracted a potentially lethal virus — this is not on Dangerfield, all respect gone pic.twitter.com/FRTaLeALJ9
Understandable, because this was pretty spineless, buddy. pic.twitter.com/citv1NzZgS— The Vagabond Papers (@PapersVagabond) March 13, 2020
Disgraceful Danger.— Quiet Australian (@nametaken15) March 13, 2020
Pathetic, and doubled down by deleting.— DS🙂 (@dontknowmuch101) March 13, 2020
However there were plenty more who praised Dangerfield and saw the funny side.
Dutton had met with Donald Trump
Dutton attended Tuesday's cabinet meeting in person but joined Thursday's session of the National Security Committee via video link.
The deputy Chief Medical Officer told Prime Minister Scott Morrison that only those who had close contact with Mr Dutton in the 24 hours before Friday's symptoms need to self-isolate or be tested.
“That does not include the prime minister or any other members of the cabinet,” a spokesperson for the prime minister said in a statement.
Mr Dutton travelled to the US late last week for meetings in Washington where he met president Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka and US Attorney General William Barr.
AFL to be played behind closed doors
The 2020 AFL premiership season will start as scheduled but fans will be locked out of stadiums indefinitely as part of the league's measures to counter the spread of coronavirus.
Around 90,000 fans had been expected to turn out for Thursday night's season opener between Richmond and Carlton but the MCG grandstands will now be empty.
The AFL took the step after deciding against delaying the start of the season following Friday's decision by the federal government to place a blanket ban on gatherings of 500 or more people.
League boss Gillon McLachlan flagged the move on Tuesday, with a decision to be made in close consultation with government medical experts.
“It is important that we take the advice of those that know best and that advice right now is to continue with matches but not to host mass gatherings, which can put everyone at risk,” McLachlan said in a statement released late on Friday afternoon.
“I am disappointed for our fans but we cannot put them in a situation that potentially jeopardises the health and well-being of the whole community.
“The landscape is changing quickly; each organisation has their own set of challenges but our clubs, players, officials and fans know that the health and safety of all is the No.1 priority.
“We are working through a major issue that impacts the wider community and we will work with all our clubs and industry partners to ensure that footy finds a way."