Joel Selwood's fear for AFL players after Jeremy Finlayson hit with big suspension

Two AFL greats have talked about their concerns after the Jeremy Finlayson incident.

Joel Selwood has pointed out gay AFL players might not feel comfortable coming out in the game's current landscape after the attention handed to the Jeremy Finlayson incident. Finlayson has been banned for three weeks after he admitted to making the slur towards an unnamed Essendon player last weekend, and the AFL deemed it an "unprompted and highly offensive" remark.

Finlayson will also be required to attend a Pride In Sport training program that he will have to pay for out of his own pocket. In determining the three-game ban, the AFL took into account that the 28-year-old had apologised and owned up to his mistake the following day.

Joel Selwood reacts and Jeremy Finlayson runs.
Joel Selwood (pictured left) has called out the ban handed to Jeremy Finlayson having claimed some AFL players might not feel comfortable coming out as gay after the incident. (Images: Channel 7/Getty Images)

The ban has now been compared to that of North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson's punishment when he was fined $20,000 and handed a suspended two-match ban for allegedly using a homophobic slur in a pre-season game. Many have questioned why Port Adelaide player Finlayson has been treated harsher than Clarkson.

The AFL Players Association took aim at the AFL's move and called out the 'double standards'. “We believe the AFL is consistently inconsistent and there are double standards in its approach to dealing with players compared to others on behavioural matters,” AFLPA boss Paul Marsh said in a statement.

“This issue highlights the lack of clarity on how the AFL handles these situations and we want this to be the catalyst for an urgent review of the sanctioning framework. If this type of conduct is a three-week sanction for a player, it should be for everyone involved in the game and this should be clear to everyone in the industry upfront rather than the open-ended approach that is currently in place.”

AFL greats weigh into Jeremy Finlayson ban

Richmond legend Trent Cotchin said the 'unprecedented' ban handed to Finlayson will go someway in changing the landscape of the game. He also admitted the current drama highlights how concerning it was a player has not come out within a club in today's environment. While he hoped the Richmond club, while he was playing, had created a safe environment for the players.

However, Selwood pointed out the ugly furore around the incident may have only made gay players feel less comfortable in coming out. "It's OK within the footy clubs. But we are probably further away now because maybe people see it differently and that individual that is gay within the AFL landscape - of the men's program - doesn't feel comfortable in that," Selwood said on Channel 7.

Port Adelaide apologise after Jeremy Finlayson drama

Port Adelaide accepted the suspension immediately, and Finlayson issued a second apology. "I unreservedly apologise again to the Essendon player, my teammates, Port Adelaide members and supporters and the LGBTQIA+ community for the distress I have caused," Finlayson said.

Port president David Koch also apologised on behalf of the club. "What was said is totally unacceptable and comments of this nature do not align with what our club stands for," he said. "Port Adelaide is a place for everyone so we are very disappointed with what occurred on Friday night.

"We will now provide education for Jeremy and offer him and his family support during this time. We do not underestimate the seriousness of this matter and look forward to the AFL applying consistency to such cases in the future."