Statement attributed to AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh:
The AFL Players’ Association notes the issue that has emerged today involving Bailey Smith.
Bailey is a young man who has made a mistake, but importantly has owned that mistake and, even more importantly, has put steps in place to learn from it and grow as a person as a result of it.
The AFL environment is high pressure and high profile and Bailey has previously shared his battles with mental health.
When issues such as this arise, there are typically two alternative approaches people think should be taken.
Condemn, sanction and shame the player involved or support, educate and try to use the issue as an opportunity for growth.
The AFLPA will support Bailey through this time and we are confident the Western Bulldogs will do likewise.