Dwayne Russell has had his say on the AFL’s handling of crowd behaviour, suggesting those complaining about Wednesday’s press release need to read it closer.
The AFL yesterday released a statement explaining why a patron had been removed from Marvel Stadium for abusing umpire Matthew Nicholls that you can read here.
Many have complained about the statement, suggesting the AFL is intruding on their experience at the footy, without actually telling them what they can and can’t say.
However, Russell believes it’s on the fans attending games to read the environment they’re in and act in a respectful manner.
“I’m actually with the AFL on this one and I’m one of the few who is,” he told SEN SA’s Dwayne’s World.
“An umpire made a complaint this week, it was investigated and the AFL said the fan’s demeaner and the fan’s words – “bald flog” – were actually acceptable.
“So isn’t that actually the perfect scenario? That you can still barrack, there is a level of heckling that the umpires need to tolerate? The AFL has confirmed that by not taking action against the fan.
“I can’t see why people are complaining about that. They’ve investigated it, they’ve realised there is a level of heckling the umpires do need to cope with and you can still barrack as a fan – to me that’s a perfect scenario.”
Russell believes the same people complaining about the lack of clarity in the AFL’s press release would still be whinging had they provided a more comprehensive answer as to what is and is not acceptable at games.
“The AFL put out a press release about fan behaviour yesterday and a lot of people are whinging about it because it failed to say what’s acceptable behaviour and what’s not,” he said.
“To that, I say come on. We’re not all idiots.
“If the AFL put out a press release saying all the things you can and can’t do, and what words you can and can’t say, the exact same people complaining about yesterday’s press release would sook that the AFL was being too controlling.”
Russell went on to break down what the press release was trying to say.
“For the idiots who couldn’t read the AFL’s press release yesterday and understand the vibe of it, let me explain the vibe of it,” he said.
“If you go to an AFL game, you have a responsibility to act like a human being. Buying a ticket is not a license to abuse and be an aggressive wrecker of someone else’s footy experience.
“That’s the parameter, if you need it explained to you. Like you would in any public place where kids might be present and they might be enjoying the good time too, the exact same responsibilities that you have in every other public place as a human being in public is the same at the footy.
“My suggestion is if you haven’t learned that yet, you look around you, you read your environment, and you read the people around you and you act accordingly.
“If you have half a brain, you don’t need a list drawn up by the AFL explaining how to act when you walk into a game of footy, just like you don’t need a list drawn up when you go to the movies and you don’t need a list drawn up when you walk into a pub.”
Collingwood super-fan Jeff “Joffa” Corfe told SEN’s Whateley today that he would be boycotting games until he received an apology from the AFL on behalf of all fans and supporters over this crowd behaviour issue.
“I’m sticking up for all my fellow supporters around Australia and I want an apology from Gil because I think we deserve one with the way that we’ve been spoken about, the way that we’ve been portrayed,” Joffa told Gerard Whateley.
“I’m not going to another game until Gil McLachlan apologises to supporters right across Australia because we are hurting. We are hurting so bad, this is not funny.”
However, Russell has a simple message for the Pies supporter.
“Joffa is threatening to boycott games, Joffa mate, stay home, the game won’t miss you,” he said.
“Collingwood greats like Tony Shaw departed the game and the game immediately moved on so they’re not going to miss the leader of the cheer squad – I reckon they’ll still bounce the ball in the middle.”
Listen to Dwayne Russell’s full comments on SEN SA’s Dwayne’s World below