AFL: Brad Scott says Jeremy Finlayson gay slur wasn’t raised with him

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Essendon coach Brad Scott says he was “disappointed” to hear a slur had been directed at one of his players but thinks the AFL is heading in the “right direction” on stamping out homophobic abuse.

Scott said the offensive remark Port Adelaide player Jeremy Finlayson made to a Bombers opponent on Friday night had not been raised with him during the game, with the investigation prompted after the comments were picked up by an umpire’s microphone.

The coach praised Finlayson for immediately apologising for using the slur, as he said the response showed how the league’s standards had changed.

Finlayson, 28, faces a suspension and a hefty fine, with the AFL set to make a decision by Thursday evening.

AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon said on Monday the case was not comparable to a pre-season incident involving North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson who escaped a suspension after yelling a homophobic slur at St Kilda players in March.

“It wasn’t raised with me (by the Bombers player). The umpires are mic’d up, so that wasn’t raised with me, I wasn’t aware of it until it was out in the public forum,” Scott said on Tuesday.

“The AFL instigated it, I didn’t have any awareness of it internally, so certainly, no players spoke to me about it.

“So wasn’t raised in game or post-game from any player. A lot of players have spoken about it (since). It’s disappointing, but I think that the positive out of all this is that everyone’s saying the right thing post (the incident) and everyone’s clear on what the AFL expectation is in this space.”

Scott said the AFL had made progress in stamping out homophobia despite the two incidents this season.

“I think the AFL industry and probably community standards have changed markedly over the last two or three decades,” he said.

“And obviously it’s a change in the right direction. I think generally the community but AFL players set the standard in terms of setting high community expectations and adhering to them. “But every now and then there’s a transgression. These players are human and they make mistakes.

“I think the most important thing is that everyone involved has straight away admitted that there was a mistake and it shouldn’t have happened.”

The coach did not want to weigh in on the punishment he thought Finlayson should receive.

“The AFL deal with it, but if we look back to where the game and community standards were, you know, 30 years ago, as an industry and as a community and society, we’ve come a long, long way,” he said.

“I think these incidents probably highlight just how far we’ve come because 30 years ago no one would have batted an eyelid, so as an industry, I think the AFL have set the standard in areas like this.”

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