|Aussie footy player roasted for crass ‘gig’
An Australian Football League player was fined and forced to apologize to a dwarf entertainer set on fire during an alcohol-fuelled end-of-season celebration.
The incident also prompted an apology from the league's chief executive Andrew Demetriou who at first laughed and giggled on live television when told of the allegations against St Kilda player Clinton Jones. He said he initially, he thought it to be a joke.
The dwarf Blake Johnston and his colleague Arthur Serevetas had been booked by the club to entertain players at their so-called “Mad Monday'' event this week, but things allegedly got out of hand, AFP reports.
Channel Nine said a group of players began using a lighter to set fire to each other's clothes. Then one, identified by the club as Clinton Jones, is said to have turned his attention to Johnston, who is also a wrestler and goes under the moniker Mr Big.
“A player went behind my friend with one of those gas lighters that you light up a stove and basically lit him up,'' Serevetas told the broadcaster's Footy Classified show.
“Part of his shirt and pants caught on fire. After that someone put it out and he got ticked off and we basically left.
“That was the end of our gig, basically.''
Johnston was quickly helped by other players and suffered only minor injuries, the reports said.
Serevetas said he considered Jones' conduct as criminal and had advised his colleague to take action.
Victorian state police confirmed a complaint had been lodged and they were investigating. The club later said Jones had been fined A$3,000 for misconduct and had apologized personally to Johnston for the “inadvertent action.’’
“I sincerely apologize to Mr Johnston and have done so personally today,'' Jones said in a St Kilda statement.
“As a playing group we were engaged in end of season activities which in hindsight were quite childish. I made an error of judgement in including Mr Johnston in the activity.''
“I am embarrassed if this has caused angst and certainly had no intention to cause any harm to anyone.''
When Demetriou was told of the incident on live television, he began giggling – a reaction which sparked anger on social media.
He later apologized, saying he thought it was a joke.
``Mad Monday'' celebrations, invariably alcohol-fuelled and in fancy dress, have a long history of making the wrong headlines across various sporting codes.
In 2010 ex-Canberra NRL player Joel Monaghan simulated a sex act with a dog in a Mad Monday party following the 2010 season – sparking global shame as a picture of the incident went viral and the RSPCA got involved.
AFL club North Melbourne's tasteless 2009 video of a condom-clad rubber chicken performing sex acts, which found its way onto YouTube, also attracted criticism.
Aussie Rules has endured a tough season, with Essendon coach James Hird banned for 12 months and the side hit with the biggest fine in the sport's history – A$2 million – over a drug supplements scandal