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Captains condemn treatment of vulnerable players

On behalf of the captains of all 18 AFL clubs, AFL Players’ Association Vice-President Matthew Pavlich has condemned the naming of Essendon players in newspapers on Sunday. Speaking ahead of the AFL season launch at Adelaide Oval, Pavlich said the captains felt compelled to speak out.

“As leaders of the playing group, we think it’s appropriate to stand up, and lend our voice and influence, in condemning the mistreatment of vulnerable players,” Pavlich said.

“That’s our responsibility.”

The Fremantle captain said it was important for media outlets to distinguish between information that’s in the public’s interest, and that which is simply interesting to the public. An article published on the weekend fell into the latter category, and was unanimously recognised by the captains as unacceptable.

“It’s appropriate to stand up, and lend our voice and influence, in condemning the mistreatment of vulnerable players” – Matthew Pavlich

“It is the view of the captains of all 18 AFL clubs that the decision to name and publish photos of current and former Essendon Football Club players in the press on Sunday falls short of the standards of respect and decency that we hope would characterise the relationship between players and the media,” Pavlich said.

“Regardless of what you think about what happened at Essendon Football Club in 2012, there is no doubt these players are in an unenviable and vulnerable position.”

The captains of all 18 AFL clubs believe it’s essential for players and media to maintain healthy working relationships with one another, and respect professional boundaries.

“As Andrew Demetriou said on Monday, we’re fortunate the game is so well covered by the Australian media,” Pavlich said.

“But, just as we [the players] are accountable for everything we do on and off the field, we think it’s important to point out conduct which we think falls short when we see it.

“So, without labouring the point, taking any further unnecessary action or holding grudges, let’s all take stock, reflect on how we would like to be treated both individually and collectively, and work together to continue to showcase the game, its players and its stories in a fair and respectable manner.”