Former Port Adelaide premiership coach and Richmond development coach Mark Williams has defended Dustin Martin’s actions on Wednesday, labeling the media’s treatment of the Richmond star as “definitely a form of bullying.”
Williams was Martin’s mentor during his time at Richmond and is still very close to the Tigers midfielder, so much so that Martin made a rare media appearance on Wednesday to help Williams promote a new football called the Sherrin Precision.
Martin left the interview early after reporters asked him about his contract status with the Tigers, but Williams was quick to defend the 25-year-old on SEN.
“He can speak as well as anyone, he just doesn’t dance to the beat of the mainstream media. If you ask things he’s not interested he’s just not going to comply, that’s just the way he is,” Williams said on SEN on Thursday morning.
“When they asked him what his future was he politely said, ‘I’m not going to talk about that, I’m going to talk about the ball’. They persisted again and persisted again and politely he walked off.
“It’s easy to say Ralph (Carr, Martin’s manager) or I have stitched him up, but that really underestimates Dustin.
“It’s an insult to suggest he can’t take questions — he can do it as well as anyone else — but just because he doesn’t dance to their tune they (the media) ostracise him. It’s definitely a form of bullying, no doubt.”
When Williams himself was asked about Martin’s future, he left the decision up to the Tiger, but said he knew he’d make the right decision.
“His thoughts are he’s really happy to be able to say I’m just letting it go until the end of the year. If he says that, you just let it go.
“To question him every week, ‘What’s happening with your contract?’, it’s just a joke.
“If you look at his form over the past two years, he’s (finished) third in the Brownlow, he’s All-Australian and won the best-and-fairest … because Dustin is what he is and he is his own man people treat him differently to the other stars of the game.
“He’s a very shy sort of person and he gets to a point where he’s just ‘leave me alone’.”