GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 12: Eddie McGuire looks on during the round two AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Fremantle Dockers at Simonds Stadium on April 12, 2015 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

The AFL has missed the mark with a typically weak response

The AFL has once again missed an opportunity to make a huge statement.

Eddie McGuire, Danny Frawley and James Brayshaw’s disgusting comments regarding Caroline Wilson on Queen’s Birthday last Monday came across as misogynist, completely unacceptable and quite frankly just plain offensive.

Whether the comments were made with that intention or not, is irrelevant, as that it without doubt the way Wilson and many others perceived them.

“I reckon we should start the campaign for a one-person slide next year. Caroline Wilson. And I’ll put in 10 grand straight away, make it 20. And if she stays under, 50,” McGuire said on triple M radio.

“What do you reckon guys? Who else is up there? I know you’re in JB?”

“No, yep, Straight in,” Brayshaw said.

“I’ll actually jump in and make sure she doesn’t, I’ll hold her under, Ed,” Danny Frawley added.

“She’s like the black widow. She just sucks you in and gets you and you start talking to her and then bang! She gets you,” McGuire then finished with.

Threatening to drown another member of the public is vicious and a ridiculous joke to make about anyone. McGuire’s comments and those made by his fellow commentators about Wilson make light of domestic violence, a problem that is still hugely prevalent in Australian society. Again, whether intentional or not, these men must realise that that is the connotation and implication of their comments. It is simply not acceptable to bully a colleague or anyone for that matter, particularly in the manner in which they did.

One woman is killed nearly every week in Australia due to family violence. In 2015, seven in 10 women murdered in Australia, were victims of family violence.

It is certainly not something to be joked about and such comments could have huge implications and influence on the younger generation.

If the AFL wants to make a real stand and be at the forefront of increasing awareness of domestic violence, it should have sanctioned the people involved.

The League’s CEO Gillon McLachlan spoke to the media on Monday and condemned the comments.

“We can’t say that we as an industry have a commitment to making change if we don’t step up and call it out,” he said.

However, he stopped short of announcing any punishment for the trio.

The AFL should have banned McGuire, Brayshaw and Frawley from broadcasting on the game for a week.

It sounds radical, however, such a punishment would have made a huge statement and shown the country that the league is actually serious about the role women play in football and society.

“In the past we might have ignored the comments as part of the culture of footy. Well, it’s not good enough,” McLachlan said.

“We can’t say we are leading change if we don’t step up and call it out. Words and jokes have incredible power.

“We still have a long way to go. Our sport must lead.”

That’s right Gil, the AFL does have a long way to go.

It is one thing to talk a big game, but the AFL’s CEO in the end said a lot, without actually saying anything at all.

He re-iterated on several occasions that the game must be leaders on the issue, but failed to announce any future actions that would exemplify those statements.

McLachlan also said that McGuire’s apology on Monday morning on 3AW Radio, was sufficient.

“The women I’ve been listening and speaking to feel the apology was legitimate,” he said.

Guardian Australia Deputy Sport Editor summed McLachlan’s press conference up perfectly with his comments on Twitter.

While suspending McGuire, Frawley and Brayshaw from broadcasting on AFL matches is certainly a radical idea, it would no doubt display a clear message, that the AFL will not accept that kind of behaviour. It is also taking them out of the very forum that they abused with their comments.

Well done AFL, you have failed to properly handle and address a significant issue once again.

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