What was meant to be an innocuous photo to show off the novelty of the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers travelling together could have some drastic consequences.
The two Western Australian teams were travelling to Victoria due to the coronavirus lockdowns announced in around the country.
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West Coast posted a photo to social media showing the two teams sharing a flight, but some noticed Eagles star Jamie Cripps was incorrectly wearing his face mask.
Masks have been compulsory on all flights in Australia since January, and the Eagles aren't the first AFL club to fall foul of mask rules while travelling interstate.
South Australian footy icon Graham Cornes noticed the photo on Twitter, and couldn't help but point out players for the Adelaide Crows had been heavily fined several weeks ago for a mask infringement of their own.
"The Crows were fined $50,000 for players not wearing their masks correctly. #justsaying," Cornes posted on Twitter.
The image, which was posted on Wednesday night, comes as each of the AFL's eight interstate teams make plans to travel to Victoria in a bid to continue the season amid the latest spike in coronavirus cases.
However West Coast Eagles CEO Trevor Nisbett defended Cripps from calls for the midfielder to be fined for not wearing the mask correctly.
— Graham Cornes (@Cornesy12) June 29, 2021
He argued it was too much to punish people for a 'momentary lapse'.
“The club understands that despite it being a momentary lapse, when a mask slid down the face of one of our players, we must set an example in this respect,” he wrote in a club statement.
“I travelled with the team and other than when they were either eating or drinking, they abided by the protocols.”
He later added that there was little risk to the public, due to both teams being on a charter flight.
“Our staff and players abided by protocols and were very disciplined on the flight," he said.
“The entire entourage was again tested on arrival in Melbourne and isolated until all had returned negative tests this morning.”
Eagles under fire after Crows fined over mask breach
The AFL has fined the Adelaide crows a whopping $50,000 after players were allegedly filmed not wearing masks on a flight.
Adelaide originally asked the AFL to investigate after they were tipped off about players and staff not wearing masks properly on a recent flight during Melbourne's lockdown in June.
After facing the Richmond Tigers in Sydney, a fixture that was moved to accomodate the lockdown on Melbourne, the Crows flew back to Adelaide.
The Crows were then alerted that some players and staff were allegedly not correctly wearing masks.
This prompted the Crows to reach out to the AFL and asked them to investigate.
Following an investigation, and footage emerging from Channel Nine, the Crows were fined $50,000.
AFL's General Counsel Andrew Dilon slammed the alleged Crows players and staff involved for not following the simple rules.
“First and foremost, we all have a very clear responsibility to ensure we do everything we can to best protect the health and well-being of our family, friends and everyone in the community,” he said.
“The rule here is clear and has been in place for some time and there is simply no excuse for not abiding by it.
“We will not compromise the health and well-being of the community, and remind everyone in the industry – players, coaches, officials and staff - that they have a responsibility to adhere to the rules for the safety of everyone.”
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