Port Adelaide Power
Port Adelaide CEO Keith Thomas says the “sensationalist” reporting of the Sam Powell-Pepper investigation influenced the perception of both the player and the case.
The AFL announced yesterday that the midfielder will be suspended for another week having already missed the last two through a club-imposed suspension and due to the on-going investigation by the league’s integrity unit.
Thomas says the protracted nature of the investigation was down to a “large disparity” between what was being reported in the media and what was seen on the video footage at the Adelaide nightclub.
“The point I was trying to make was that the tone and narrative around the media reporting was quite sensationalist,” he said on SEN Afternoons.
“There was talk of sexual assault, groping and sickening turn of events. We were making the point really early on that we needed to understand exactly what happened and we took some time to do that.
“Once we saw the video of the incident we felt there was a large disparity between what actually occurred and how it was being reported.
Thomas revealed that the club opted not to challenge the AFL’s sanction because of the potential ramifications for the woman involved in the incident.
“We needed to mount that challenge without disrespecting the complaint. It’s a difficult line and we can’t show the video publicly.
“The sentence was actually less of an issue for us – the wording was everything so we could put it in its proper context. That’s really why it took so long.
“As soon as you start going into what you deem appropriate and inappropriate it really challenges the woman’s feelings about it so Sam didn’t want to do that, we didn’t want to do that so you accept it.
“If she was made to feel uncomfortable, you accept that and everything that comes with it.”
SEN Afternoon’s host Andy Maher was very confused by Port Adelaide’s treatment of the Powell-Pepper situation following Thomas’ press conference.
“I’ve got two questions after all of that,” Maher said.
“Keith, if you think it did not happen and clearly you think that’s true, tell us what happened and if you think that the whole outcome has been grossly unfair, then why accept the penalty?
“Keith Thomas was talking about the layers involved in a story like this and they are always multi-layered, no challenging Keith Thomas on that.
“It’s not the media, it’s what the Port Adelaide Football Club are saying right now so I think you can cut the media a little bit of slack in terms of who’s driving the agenda here.”
Listen to Keith Thomas’ chat about the Sam Powell-Pepper investigation with Andy Maher in the player below
Originally published on SEN.com.au