Gone are the days when testosterone or substance-fueled athletes can have poor behaviour dismissed with a knowing shrug. That is, at least, if Chief Executive Libby Davies of White Ribbon Australia is successful at the attempt to have players charged with domestic violence against women barred from playing or training pending resolution of any charges.
The perception amongst many is that the high-calibre players often receive a pass for questionable behavior, whatever the cause.
The AFL is by no means singular in experiencing this problem, but the attention AFL athletes receive, coupled with citizenry equipped with smart phones looking to post the latest viral video of a footy player behaving poorly, draws attention to an issue that in the past would have escaped notice.
The Tigers’ Dustin Martin is the latest to attract unwanted scrutiny following allegations that he threatened to stab a woman in the eye at a Japanese restaurant.
AFL critics felt that the league dropped the ball when they referred the matter to Victoria police. This and similar incidents will fuel the ongoing debate in what role sports leagues occupy when it comes to any kind of behavior that casts the league in a poor light.