Mitchell Johnson urges Football Australia to make 'necessary' Sam Kerr decision

The former Australian fast bowler believes Sam Kerr must be removed as Matildas captain.

Former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has called on Football Australia to axe Sam Kerr as Matildas captain. The star striker failed to inform the governing body about being charged for multiple weeks -despite telling her club team Chelsea - and Johnson says if the 30-year-old isn't relieved of captaincy duties it sends a 'terrible message' as everyone must be 'accountable for their actions'.

The Matildas captain is charged with using insulting, threatening or abusive words that caused alarm or distress during an incident in Twickenham on January 30, 2023, where she threw up in a taxi after a night out. Kerr allegedly called a police officer a 'stupid white bastard' after the cops were called over a dispute regarding a taxi fare, according to reports, however, the 30-year-old denies she used the word 'bastard'.

Pictured Mitchell Johnson left and Sam Kerr right
Mitchell Johnson has called for Sam Kerr to be removed as the Matildas captain. Image: Getty

The news of her arrest blindsided the Australian public and even Football Australia, with calls flooding in for the striker to be removed as skipper of the national side. When Football Australia boss James Johnson and Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson were first questioned about the charge against Kerr, they stated they were unaware of it, more than a year after the incident first occurred.

But Football Australia as yet has chosen not to take the captaincy away from her and Johnson believes that is simply not good enough. "Regardless of the outcome of Kerr’s charge in England, her captaincy deserves to be called into question after hiding it from Football Australia," Johnson wrote in a column for The Nightly.

"More than just being looked up to by many young girls and boys, Kerr is the captain. Leaders need to lead from the front, and not telling the national body about her legal issues sends a terrible message, more so when you’re the captain.

"This would be a good time to show the young kids who look up to her, or any of our sports stars, that you must be accountable for your actions. What message does this send our kids otherwise?"

Craig Foster backflips on call for Sam Kerr to be stood down

Craig Foster originally called for Kerr to be stood down in the immediate aftermath of the news breaking. But last week the retired footballer said while the decision to hide the incident from Football Australia was both shocking and saddening, he no longer believes she should be stood down.

Originally when asked if Kerr should be removed as Matildas captain, Foster said Football Australia should "definitely consider it". However, he has recently taken to X to voice his new opinion: "Sam Kerr's case has created immensely important conversations and exposed gaps in Australia's knowledge, including mine. I am not at all surprised to have got this wrong, apologise to Sam for reaching the wrong conclusion and am very pleased to be able to improve my advocacy."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23: Craig Foster talks to the media during Melbourne City A-League media opportunities at AAMI Park on January 23, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)
Craig Foster no longer believes the Matildas should strip Sam Kerr of the captaincy. (Jonathan DiMaggio via Getty Images)

Sam Kerr insists she never called the policeman a 'bastard'

The Matildas star has pleaded not guilty to the charge of using insulting, threatening or abusive words that caused alarm or distress last year and will return to court for a pre-trial hearing next month. It has been alleged that Kerr called an officer a 'stupid white bastard' after police were called over a dispute in regards to a taxi fare after Kerr had been sick in the cab. But it is understood Kerr and her legal team will deny that she said the word 'bastard' and instead said 'stupid white cop'.

The incident allegedly occurred on January 30, 2023, hours after Kerr scored a crucial hat-trick to help Chelsea to a 3-2 FA Cup victory over Liverpool. A hearing is scheduled for April 26 where Kerr’s legal team will apply to have the case dismissed on grounds of abuse of process. She has pleaded not guilty to the charge of racially aggravated harassment.


Her lawyers will reportedly seek to have the charge downgraded or dropped completely due to 'abuse of process' after it took police 12 months to lay the charge. Kerr was notified of the charge on the 21st of January this year and will head to trial next year if the case proceeds that far.

She is due back in court in April for a pre-trial hearing. In the UK, harassment convictions can include a sentence of up to two years in custody when the offence is racially or religiously aggravated.