Sport AFL AFL goes too far in Alex Fasolo wee incident

AFL goes too far in Alex Fasolo wee incident

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It’s become so sanitary.

But, for the AFL, not sanitary enough.

That’s why they felt compelled to launch an investigation after Collingwood player Alex Fasolo was spotted allegedly urinating in a paper cup during the club’s pre-season win over Geelong on Friday night.

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With Collingwood’s changerooms on the other side of the ground due to ongoing renovations at Geelong, Fasolo – who felt the call of nature early in the second quarter – was clearly furtive as he arranged himself on the bench, covering the act with a towel.

That the AFL firstly decided to investigate the matter is ridiculous.

And the fact they decided to issue Fasolo with a formal warning on Wednesday is, frankly, taking the piss.

We can only hope the warning was for not washing his hands.

AFL footy is like a formerly gritty inner-city neighbourhood that’s been gentrified – and now the custodians are so out of touch with the real world they crinkle their noses and start an e-petition when a dog cocks its leg on their lawn.

Don’t get us wrong – no one is sad to see the back of king-hits behind play or the muddy grounds, but sometimes the AFL can just micro-manage the game, and on this occasion, just a wee bit too much.

Nathan Buckley makes light of the incident. Photo: Fox Footy
Nathan Buckley makes light of the incident. Photo: Fox Footy

Collingwood clearly – and rightly – aren’t too miffed.

Coach Nathan Buckley arrived at a press conference on Tuesday with a paper cup that he joked Fasolo had given him.

“It’s important to get your salts back in,” Buckley said with a smile as he drank from the cup.

He added: “I spoke to him straight after the game. My comment was if there were rooms behind us or if there was a stand behind us, then we would hold him to account internally.

“But he took every precaution … what happened was reasonable in the circumstances.”

Magpies CEO Gary Pert said: “As far as I’m concerned, we’re playing a game in a construction zone and sometimes you’ve got to use a bit of innovation. Alex was very respectful.”

If the AFL want to investigate anybody, how about investigating Fox Footy for allowing the footage to go to air in the first place.

Surely, a bloke trying to discreetly relieve himself should be something the telecast director should notice and choose not to broadcast.

There will be blood, and concussion and the occasional eruption of violence that the broadcast partner will have no alternative but to show us.

But this is something that, plainly, was not essential to our ‘viewer experience’.

Perhaps the argument could be made for a telecast delayed by a few seconds, as it is on radio in case anyone swears. Audible obscenities are another thing offensive to the league’s family-friendly focus, so the delay could be in action before too long for that purpose alone.

Tim Boyle (R) was left wearing more brown than gold in a 2007 final. Photo: Getty
It happens: Tim Boyle’s embarrassing incident in a 2007 final was not a part of the television broadcast. Photo: Getty

Incidents like Fasolo’s are rare.

In 2008, Mark Williams was fined $500 for relieving himself before a VFL match.

And the New Zealand Warriors were hit with a $15,000 punishment after Russell Packer relieved himself, in his shorts, while on the field during a 2013 NRL match.

Williams, Fasolo and Packer can at least be thankful they didn’t share the same fate as former Hawk Tim Boyle, who revealed last year he soiled himself during a 2007 final against North Melbourne.

“My stomach was hurting, and had been for a while,” Boyle wrote in The Sunday Age.

“I set out for a loose ball that bounced sideways out of bounds and by the time I’d stopped running, there was an unmistakable release at the back of my shorts.”

If the AFL is serious about its image and how it is portrayed, how about having a quiet word in the ear of its partner broadcaster?

Or will the billions of dollars they’ve just pocketed through the sale of the broadcast rights mean that will be a conversation left unsaid?


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