AFL fines coach Alastair Clarkson for homophobic slur

North Melbourne AFL coach Alastair Clarkson
Composite image. Original image: Flickerd/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

North Melbourne AFL coach Alastair Clarkson has received a $20,000 fine and a suspended two-match ban for hurling a homophobic slur during an outburst at an opposing player.

Clarkson admitted he called the St Kilda player a “c___sucker” in an outburst during a pre-season game last week.

The AFL found Clarkson guilty of “conduct unbecoming” for the slur. His two-match ban was suspended until the end of the 2025 season. If he’s found guilty of the same conduct again, he’ll cop the ban.

The coach, who apologised for the homophobic spray, must also attend Pride in Sport training.

Clarkson repeated an initial apology and said his tirade was “unnecessary,” the language “inappropriate” but in a statement blamed “the emotion of the moment”.

“I’m disappointed that I allowed the emotion of the moment to envelop me,” he said.

“I should not have engaged with the St Kilda players. I’ve since apologised to [them].”

“My language was not used with any intent to vilify or marginalise. However through this incident, I’ve begun to understand the impact of the use of casual language.

“I am fully committed to educating myself in this regard. I’ve been doing some work to understand why I respond in the manner I do, but also to develop strategies I can implement in these moments.”

Debate over AFL’s penalties for Alastair Clarkson

Weighing in online, some footy pundits and fans criticised Clarkson’s “heat of the moment” justification and match ban suspension, given his history of earlier outbursts.

The AFL said it took into account Clarkson’s apology, remorse and “desire to seek help to develop strategies to manage his behaviour”.

“Alastair’s conduct does not represent behaviour acceptable to anyone in our game,” AFL general counsel Stephen Meade said.

“[It is] not what is expected of a senior coach, especially someone of Alastair’s experience.

“While we understand there are emotions attached to the heat of the contest, engaging with an opposition player during the quarter-time break and then using language that is both unacceptable and highly inappropriate is something the AFL does not want in the game.”

Read more on the AFL:

SCG falls silent in AFL tribute to Jesse Baird and Luke Davies

‘Culture of silence’: Why the AFL still has no openly gay players

Dani Laidley ‘pulls no punches’ in tell-all TV documentary

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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