AFL great Luke Hodge says a line in the sand has been drawn following the three-match ban handed down to Richmond premiership defender Nathan Broad, suggesting that the next player to commit a similar offence to that of the Tiger deserves a considerably heftier penalty.
Richmond – in combination with the AFL – suspended West Australian backman Broad for the first three matches of the 2018 home and away season for sending a photo of a topless woman wearing a premiership medal, taken on the night of Richmond’s grand final win. Broad did not have permission to send the photo of the woman, whose head was not in the image, although while the photo went viral no charges were laid following a Victoria Police investigation into the matter.
The league said it supported the length of the ban, but while Hodge didn’t say it had been overly lenient, he said players should learn from Broad’s mistake, or else incur the AFL’s wrath.
“People, and players especially, they’ve got to be smarter and respect ladies better than that,” Hodge told ABC radio on Monday as he promoted his newly-released book The General.
“[Broad] probably didn’t realise what social media, iPhones can do these days.
“If you send it out on social media, it can go anywhere, the same as a picture message.
“Next time that happens, I hope the AFL comes down a lot harder than this one. I think it’s a massive learning curve for him as a young person, and hopefully he’s better for it in the future.”
Triple-premiership captain and dual Norm Smith medallist Hodge, who has come out of a short-lived retirement to join the Brisbane Lions after a storied 16 season career at Hawthorn, described the situation as a “test case.”
“Hopefully this is a learning curve for not only him, but all the other players who are going to do something silly like that,” he said.
“I obviously feel for the young lady, and hopefully she hasn’t been affected too much by it. Obviously I’m glad that her name hasn’t been put out.
“But I’m tipping that now that this has obviously been the test case, if anyone’s ever silly enough to do this again, then it’s going to be a lot bigger whack, and I think that’s very deserved.”
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said the league wouldn’t tolerate this sort of behaviour.
“This is a serious reminder about the responsibility each individual holds in their respectful treatment of the people around them,” Dillon said.
“These unacceptable actions will not be tolerated in the AFL, and our 18 clubs will continue to work to drive cultural change about respectful and responsible behaviour.”
Broad, 24, was plucked by the Tigers as a mature-age recruit from WAFL club Swan Districts deep in the 2015 draft. He played just two senior games in 2016 before missing the early part of this year through injury, but won back his spot towards the end of the year to play 10 games including all three of Richmond’s finals.
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