Lyon straight bats AFL harassment claims

Justin Chadwick
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon insists a sexual harassment claim at the AFL club isn't affecting morale

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon insists the harmony and vibrancy within the AFL team is good, despite the sexual harassment storm that has engulfed him.

Lyon fronted the media on Wednesday and again refused to confirm or deny whether he was the person at the centre of an alleged harassment claim that was settled last year.

The Age newspaper claimed Lyon allegedly made an inappropriate comment to a junior staff member several years ago at the club's Christmas function.

It's been reported the alleged victim had been paid a five-figure amount, as part of a settlement, and that a non-disclosure agreement had been signed.

The potential use of hush money in the Fremantle saga has sat uneasily with the public.

Lyon, however, refused to shed any light on the matter when he fronted journalists on Wednesday for his weekly media conference.

Lyon deflected several wide-ranging questions about the harassment claims, including:

* Why was there a financial aspect to the settlement if he didn't do anything wrong?

* Why wasn't he admitting or denying it was him who allegedly harassed the woman?

* Has the player group been made aware of more details of what happened?

* Is he concerned some parents might be worried about the club's environment if their son or daughter is working there?

Lyon continually referred back to the AFL's respect and responsibility policy, saying he wasn't in a position to comment further.

He said it couldn't be compared to the recent allegations that were made public against Port Adelaide player Sam Powell-Pepper, who copped a three-week ban from the AFL for making "inappropriate contact with a female".

"This is a workplace matter that was resolved (and) independently investigated by the integrity unit of the AFL," Lyon said of the issue at Fremantle.

"There's been no sanction handed down. And critical and fundamental to the policy that the AFL created is privacy for all parties concerned."

Lyon expanded slightly when asked whether the controversy had the potential to affect the player group.

"You can only go on performance. The harmony is good; the vibrancy is good," Lyon said.

"We're just focusing on what we can control, which is training well, meeting well and going to play a great team (Richmond)."

Lyon was also asked about Mark Thompson, who had been charged with seven counts of drug trafficking and possession.

"Any thoughts I have on 'Bomber' would be, innocent until proven guilty," Lyon said.

"I think that still stands in Australia - correct me if I'm wrong."

The Dockers (3-3) have shown great promise so far this season, and their progress will be tested in Sunday's clash with Richmond at the MCG.

Lyon is contracted to Fremantle until the end of 2020.