Melbourne have apologised for young midfielder Clayton Oliver’s “unprofessional” reaction to a sledge from a Carlton supporter.
The 19-year-old was accused of threatening the Blues supporter after a brief but animated exchange on the boundary fence during the second term of Sunday’s AFL game at the MCG.
Reports circulated that the supporter had labelled Oliver a “weak c***” and a “diver”.
But the Demons on Monday afternoon said Oliver had accepted fault over the incident and acknowledged that no profanities had been used.
“Clayton has let his emotions get the better of him and should not have reacted in the manner that he did,” football boss Josh Mahoney said.
“As a club, we apologise for the offence caused and Clayton understands this should not occur again.
“We have spoken to Clayton and the entire playing group regarding their interaction with the crowd and that no positives come out of any immediate response.
“If the player feels that he was vilified in any way, there is a process to report that to the AFL and have it investigated.”
— AFL (@AFL) July 9, 2017
Mahoney added that it was disappointing the incident had stolen the headlines after Melbourne’s hard-fought win over Carlton.
The AFL also investigated the incident, with a spokesman on Monday saying it was the league’s view that players “should not engage with the crowd in such a manner at any time”.
Oliver was widely criticised for his reaction to high contact from West Coast’s Will Schofield a fortnight ago.
Schofield was offered a one-week ban by the match review panel but the Eagles successfully challenged the sanction at the tribunal.
Oliver denied he was a “faker” in post-match comments, and later took to Twitter to bite back at former Test cricketer Damien Martyn, who implied Oliver had taken a dive.
Melbourne veteran Jordan Lewis on Monday said Oliver needed to work on not letting critics get under his skin.
“You do get thick skin the longer you’re in the game,” Lewis said.
“He’s obviously early on in his career. He wouldn’t have felt this for the first 18 years of his life.
“It is a whole new world that these young kids are entering and they have to understand it’s not necessarily personal but they’re trying to put us off our game.
“You can’t react to Twitter or fans who try and provoke you at games, you’ve just got to move on.”