Adelaide’s Josh Jenkins acknowledges gambling is an issue within the AFL ranks.
There has been plenty of talk over the past week surrounding the apparent punting habits of professional footballers and while Jenkins admits there is a problem, he feels what has been reported is quite severe and breaches the trust factor.
The Crows forward pointed to a recent report in the Herald Sun where leading counsellor Jan Beames revealed gambling amongst AFL players was “an epidemic” while suggesting players would seek an escape from the game by “gambling in the on-season and drugs in the off-season”.
“It’s an issue, yeah, it’s an issue in the AFL and it’s an issue full-stop,” Jenkins said on SEN SA Breakfast.
“I have plenty of (non-AFL) mates who gamble more than they should and more than they can afford, outside of footy.
“There’s guys I know of who’ve had issues inside the AFL. Past players, guys who are still playing who have had issues as well.
“It’s a massive issue and I guess we as players have that ability to go and gamble. The excess of money, particularly when you are a young man and you haven’t got children or a house and you are playing games and getting match payments, so there’s certainly opportunities.”
Touching specifically on Beames’ comments, Jenkins added: “It’s so unprofessional in my opinion to say that because it does tarnish.
“I’ve never touched a drug in my whole life but now I’m one of the 800 who could be one of those players.
“If I was one of the players who had gone and seen her, and I know that no names have been used, (but) the trust would be completely eroded if I’d been there.
“I’d be quite livid and I’d be devastated that details of how many players have trouble and players who have lost, in her words over $1 million, I’d be devastated that information is out there.
“It’s not hard for an aspiring journalist to go and sit at Jan Beames’ office for a couple of days and see which AFL players roll through. I don’t understand what she was trying to achieve.
“I know that she was trying to shed light on how big the issue is but the collateral damage is huge and it’s really disappointing and upsetting.”
Jenkins believes it is an issue that is difficult to gauge because of the fact it is not against the law to place a bet.
“It’s not illegal to gamble and it’s not illegal to gamble all your money either,” he said further.
“It’s quite unwise to do so, but not illegal, so it’s very hard to get a hold on it.
“You can certainly see signs and guys focused more on the races than perhaps when they’re at training or at a café or wherever. So, it’s certainly an ability as mates and I think we owe that to each other to be courageous and ask your mate how he’s going and whether he’s focused on the races too much.
“That’s probably where we all play a part and that’s not just gambling, that’s all facets of life.”
Listen to Jenkins on SEN SA Breakfast below: