Carlton captain Marc Murphy has been forced to take to social media after “hurtful” and “untrue” comments were made about his wife both on the field during the club’s clash with St Kilda and off-field in the hours that followed the match.
“I would like to respond to highly inappropriate social media commentary that has escalated in the past few days,” Murphy wrote in a Twitter post on Monday night.
“I want to be clear that these comments are untrue, hurtful to my wife & family and show a lack of respect to women.
“We [myself and Jessie] would like to move on and will not be making any further comment.”
Saints players allegedly made several very personal remarks to Murphy during Carlton’s 19-point loss to St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
At one point during the game a vicious melee broke out when Murphy yelled at injured St Kilda defender Jake Carlisle as he lay on the ground. Carlisle is believed to have been central to the sledging.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson and club captain Jarryn Geary admitted on Monday that their players had overstepped the mark. Geary said he rang Murphy to discuss the issue.
“I’ve left a message with Marc and will follow up in the next few days,” Geary said.
“We’ve addressed it as a group and acknowledged that a couple of the back and forths from Saturday probably overstepped the mark.”
Meanwhile Wayne Carey, a two-time premiership player at North Melbourne and now a commentator, was drawn into the imbroglio on Monday night.
Speaking on the Seven Network’s Talking Footy, he said unfounded rumours began circulating “a couple of years ago”.
“It clearly had no truth whatsoever, so I didn’t really worry about it too much,” he said.
“But then it started to grow legs a little bit more … I’ve probably been in contact with ‘Murph’ for the last year and a half. We’ve been on the phone constantly as the rumour and innuendo grew and grew and grew.
“Once again, I just want to say that I’ve never had a conversation with Marc Murphy’s wife. I don’t even know her.
“Marc and I have been on the phone all day today. He is really distressed.
“I’m more worried about Jessie, her mum and dad, their grandparents, friends and family – this has gone on far too long.
“At times today, I was really upset, so I can understand how Marc Murphy and his wife must be right now. You just hope this all goes away, because there’s not one element of truth to any of it.”
Carey added that both he and Murphy had previously discussed how to deal with the incident, saying they contemplated doing a radio interview together to address the topic.
“We decided ‘You know what? They’re only trolls, keyboard warriors – let’s not worry about them too much’,” he said.
Both clubs involved have requested the AFL does not start an investigation.
The AFL Players Association (AFLPA) said on Monday that no further action was necessary.
“It’s our view that on-field incidents are isolated and generally, players show great respect for each other,” AFLPA boss Paul Marsh said.