The 2018 Rising Star was struck with a heavy 22-game ban – 10 of those games to be suspended – and $20,000 fine from the AFL last Friday, after it was revealed the young Magpie had placed bets on Collingwood games in which he was playing.
The bets consisted of three multi-leg wagers – all of which were unsuccessful – amounting to a total value of $36.
After referring the issue to certain figures within the club, including Howe, Stephenson was prompted to self-report the issue directly to the AFL.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s On The Couch on Monday night, Howe revealed how the situation unfolded internally.
“A conversation took place between me and Stevo and post that he took his own path to go and seek out Walshy” Howe said.
“Clearly it was a guilty conscious. He knew he was doing the wrong thing and he put his hand up… I think he said in his press conference he knew he was doing the wrong thing”
“Internally I think that’s when you can deal with these sort of situations really quickly and swiftly, and I think it was dealt with reasonably harshly and fairly at the same time”
“Unfortunately we’re going to be without him for the next nine weeks — and that’s the price we all have to pay as a club. But at no stage are we going to leave him behind. We’re going to support him through the process and I think we do that really well.”
While Stephenson won’t be available again during the home and away season, Collingwood – who sit 3rd on the AFL ladder – are likely to welcome back the dynamic star into the side for the finals.
The club were tested throughout the four quarters on Sunday by the Bulldogs, but managed to iron out a desperate win.
They Pies face North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.