AFL club Carlton has been fined $7500 for tweets and re-tweets by injured players in relation to umpiring decisions in a game against West Coast last week.
Marc Murphy, Jeremy Laidler and Jarrad Waite engaged in comments in relation to umpiring during the course of last Thursday’s Round 12 match between West Coast and Carlton, played at Patersons Stadium.
Murphy tweeted during the game: “Ruined a good game these blokes”, while Laidler put up a post saying: “Are you not meant to try and b 1st in at the footy anymore. If u do u will be pinned for holding the ball. SHOCKING!!!”
AFL boss Andrew Demetriou flagged the fines in an interview on Friday when he said: “If you’re a player, under our rules, or a club official, you can’t comment about the umpires. I hear the arguments about freedom of speech. Freedom of speech has to come with some responsibility.”
AFL General Manager Football Operations Adrian Anderson said the AFL had written to Carlton late last week, under AFL Regulation 16.1, after Murphy and Laidler posted comments on their twitter pages while Waite re-tweeted a comment..
The club responded yesterday and Anderson said the AFL had taken into account the club’s co-operation in the matter, the admission of wrongdoing by the players and apologies from those involved. Anderson said the AFL had also taken into account the club’s general support for umpiring in arriving at $7500 ($2500 for each of the three players).
“The AFL will not tolerate public denigration of humiliation of umpires as we continue to face very real problems with the retention of umpires throughout Australia,” Anderson said.
“The Sanders Report into Umpiring highlighted the need for the AFL to have a zero-tolerance approach to criticism of umpires.
“A player’s use of social media to make comments around umpiring will be subject to the AFL’s rules in exactly the same way as comments made in a formal interview or any other media environment, as the AFL competition must continue to set a positive example on conduct towards umpires.”