GWS stalwart Callan Ward has received death threats on social media after winning a controversial free kick in Friday night’s win against Essendon.
Ward has revealed the threats were made on his Instagram page on a post featuring his young son.
“It has just got to stop. If you’re getting death threats like I’ve been getting, there’s some players couldn’t handle that,” Ward told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Saturday.
Ward kicked a victory-sealing goal against the Bombers after being awarded a free kick for high contact in the final minutes of the fixture on the Gold Coast.
Furious Essendon supporters, who watched in horror as their team’s solid lead was whittled away in the last quarter, are adamant Ward did not deserve the free shot at goal and have accused him on social media of “staging” to fool the umpire.
Umpire called a pivotal free to Callan Ward and he kicks the goal 😮
— 7AFL (@7AFL) August 7, 2020
“With what has happened last night, the most disappointing thing is I have a lot of Essendon supporters, a lot of AFL supporters, commenting on photos of Romeo, my baby, and saying I’m a flog, all this stuff,” he said.
“I am copping a bit, which is disappointing.
“I’m in a situation where as an AFL player we’re trying to get the game going and trying to play AFL football.
“But at the same time we’re away from our families and it’s tough for us as well.
“So it’s disappointing to see that people feel the need to express their passion and hatred towards me at the moment.”
Wow, umpires have impacted yet another game. Will Callan Ward be fined for staging & hopefully that umpire never umpires again. Absolutely no feel for the game! #AFLDonsGiants
— Scott Bremner (@ScottieBremner) August 7, 2020
The 221-game veteran is receiving support from the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA).
“The violent threats sent to Callan via social media are disgraceful and the words of cowards,” AFLPA chief executive officer Paul Marsh.
“Contentious decisions occur in every game and while we love the passion of fans, some need to remember that it’s a game.
“It’s incomprehensible that anyone could revert to this type of behaviour in response to a split second moment on the field.”