The high-profile resignations of three senior executives in less than a fortnight has only increased the spotlight on the AFL.
And while league boss Gillon McLachlan admitted that last week was a “very tough” one for the AFL, the reality is that the past year has been very tough.
There have been so many scandals, sagas, charges, suspensions, investigations and apologies that even the most passionate footy fan is likely to have forgotten at least a few unsavoury moments.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane …
A year of footy sagas
August 20, 2016: Adelaide’s Indigenous forward Eddie Betts has a banana thrown at him during a match against Port Adelaide. The incident is captured on film and the person responsible “banned indefinitely” from Port matches.
November 14, 2016: Greater Western Sydney midfielder Lachie Whitfield suspended from playing for six months after it was alleged he attempted to evade a drug test. Former GWS officials Graeme Allan and Craig Lambert banned for a year for their involvement.
November 15, 2016: Melbourne announce midfielder Clayton Oliver was caught drink driving. He is fined and ordered to attend a road safety education program.
November 25, 2016: Fremantle defender Michael Johnson charged with assault after alleged altercation in Leederville kebab shop. He faces trial in October.
December 7, 2016: Fremantle’s Shane Yarran arrested for unlawful wounding following alleged involvement in pub brawl.
February 24, 2017: Geelong captain Joel Selwood loses his driving licence for one month for speeding. The indiscretion costs the Cats a lucrative sponsorship deal with TAC.
March 21, 2017: Collingwood suspend midfielder Jordan De Goey for three matches, fine him $5000 and order him to undertake community service after he broke his hand in a fight – and then lied to the club about it.
March 27, 2017: Retired West Coast star Ben Cousins hit with one-year jail sentence for breaching a violence restraining order and stalking and drug offences.
March 30, 2017: Port Adelaide forward Jarman Impey pleads guilty to crashing his car into four vehicles and fleeing the scene on foot. Impey is fined and suspended by his club. Teammate Aidyn Johnson, a passenger in the incident, is also suspended.
April 10, 2017: Betts and Port Adelaide’s Paddy Ryder are racially taunted by fans in a Showdown. A brawl takes place during the match too, with Port Adelaide chairman David Koch revealing a female was “king hit from behind”.
April 16, 2017: Fremantle utility Harley Bennell asked to leave a plane for being under the influence of alcohol.
April 21, 2017: Greater Western Sydney defender Heath Shaw heard on camera calling Sydney’s Tom Papley “a f****ng retard”. He later apologises.
April 22, 2017: Victoria Police launch investigation into alleged racial abuse of a Brisbane Lions trainer – from a supporter – after crude vision surfaces.
April 23, 2017: Ex-West Coast Eagle Ben Sharp sentenced to nine years in jail for his role in an armed robbery. Sharp blamed senior West Coast players for beginning his spiral into drug addiction.
May 14, 2017: St Kilda’s on-field sledging of Carlton’s Marc Murphy triggers intense social media commentary about his wife, Jessie. Murphy slams the “untrue, hurtful” comments as St Kilda coach Alan Richardson admitted his team overstepped the line.
May 18, 2017: Former Essendon and Carlton player Justin Murphy sentenced to six months in jail for “campaign of terror” against his former partner. A court hears Murphy attacked a woman with a blow torch, with the burns causing her to lose her middle finger.
June 21, 2017: The Footy Show’s Sam Newman under fire for “transphobic” jokes regarding Caitlyn Jenner. Newman apologises the following week.
June 26, 2017: Ex-North Melbourne star Glenn Archer charged with assault following incident at junior football match.
July 4, 2017: Melbourne’s Tomas Bugg given six-week suspension for ugly, behind-the-play punch on Sydney’s Callum Mills.
July 5, 2017: Ex-Richmond player Jake King charged with making threats to kill in alleged extortion attempt. Hawthorn forward Tyrone Vickery, who was initially questioned, is released without charge.
July 5, 2017: AFL Diversity Manager Ali Fahour quits his role after he is banned from local football for life after a crude on-field punch. He is later charged with assault over the incident.
July 14, 2017: More senior AFL executives quit, with General Manager of Football Operations Simon Lethlean, and General Manager of Commercial Richard Simkiss, resigning after engaging in “inappropriate relationships” with women who work in football.