Richmond premiership player Nathan Broad said he hopes “what I’ve done will teach others” after being named as the footballer responsible for distributing a photo of a topless woman without her permission.
The 24-year-old, who has played just 12 matches for the Tigers, has been suspended for the first three matches of the 2018 season by his club.
Broad took a photo of a young topless woman wearing his premiership medal only hours after the club’s drought-breaking Grand Final victory over the Adelaide Crows last month.
Broad said the woman was someone “who I like and respect” and that he was “deeply sorry for the heartache I’ve caused this woman and her family”.
“By sending the picture I lied to her and I broke her trust,” he said at a press conference.
“This young woman deserves to have her privacy respected … I’m the one who deserves to be punished, not this woman, and she does not deserve anymore pain.
“To anybody thinking of sending this photo around, I urge you to stop and delete it.
“I hope that what I’ve done will teach others that it is not acceptable to send these types of private images without permission.”
Richmond president Peggy O’Neal flanked Broad at the brief press conference and said that the club was “terribly disappointed” in the player.
O’Neal added that Broad’s behaviour was “completely unacceptable”.
“We’re incredibly sorry for the distress Nathan’s actions have caused the young woman,” she said.
“If something good is to come from this, we hope that this very public matter serves as a warning to all.”
‘Shocked and extremely confused’
Broad knew the woman before the night of the Grand Final, lawyers Maurice Blackburn said, and she was left “shocked and extremely confused” after the photo surfaced online.
“We can confirm that the woman knew the player prior to the 2017 Grand Final and believed there was a level of trust between them,” the law firm said in a statement.
“She maintains that she insisted he delete the photo from his mobile phone as soon as it was taken, and that he assured her it had been.
“She was shocked and extremely confused when she saw the photo on social media the night after the Grand Final.
“She approached the player and football club for help to getting it removed from the internet, but it soon became apparent that the image had gone ‘viral’.”
Maurice Blackburn said that their client never intended to pursue a criminal investigation, and that her “motivation for approaching police was for assistance in getting the image deleted from wherever it had been uploaded”.
They added that their client was focused on “protecting her privacy, welfare and dignity as she tries to come to terms with what has happened”.
“The unauthorised distribution of her photograph and the subsequent attention it has received has had a devastating impact on the young woman’s wellbeing,” Maurice Blackburn added.
“She is desperate to maintain her anonymity as she tries to get on with her life as best she can.
“For that reason, we ask the media and the public to immediately cease speculation about what happened, and urge everyone to respect the young woman and her family’s privacy.”
Broad, who made his Richmond debut in 2016, did not play an AFL match in the 2017 season until Round 17 due to injury problems.
But once included, he was never dropped, with the West Australian signing a one-year contract extension in September.