AFL ponders punishment for Finlayson’s homophobic slur

Anna Harrington |

Port Adelaide’s Jeremy Finlayson directed a homophobic slur towards an Essendon player.
Port Adelaide’s Jeremy Finlayson directed a homophobic slur towards an Essendon player.

AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon won’t be drawn on how Jeremy Finlayson’s homophobic insult compares to other slurs as the league ponders a punishment for the Port Adelaide forward. 

Finlayson directed a homophobic slur towards an Essendon player during the third quarter of the Power’s 69-point victory over the Bombers at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

It is understood an umpire’s microphone picked up the insult, which was heard by multiple players, and at least one Essendon player also called it out.

The 28-year-old apologised to the target of his slur post-match, and on Sunday made a formal apology, describing his words as “unacceptable”.

Dillon was asked how Finlayson’s comment measured up to a racial slur.

“We take them all really seriously and I don’t think you can compare and contrast,” he said.

“But all of them are different, we don’t like them and that’s why we’re looking into it and that’s why there’ll be an accountability.”

What that “accountability” will be remains unclear, with suspensions and fines among the options.

Last month, North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson was fined $20,000 and has a suspended two-match ban for abusing St Kilda defenders Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard during a pre-season game.

Clarkson was asked to explain his actions to the AFL after allegedly using the homophobic slur “c*******er” during the practice match.

In 2021, Adelaide forward Taylor Walker received a six-game ban for uttering a racist remark about a rival reserves player.

Dillon wouldn’t put a specific time-frame on the Finlayson punishment, but confirmed it will be handed down before the next round, which starts on Thursday.

“We take these allegations very seriously, so we will run a full investigation,” he said.

“There will be an accountability for Jeremy at the end of that investigation. The timeline on it is it will be done before the next round of matches.

“I don’t think there’s any place for that anywhere, let alone the league.

“We take this really seriously and I would prefer to run a proper investigation and a proper process to get to the right outcome.”

Asked whether a punishment for Finlayson should be a “captain’s call” made by him, Dillon indicated that lay with football boss Laura Kane and general counsel Stephen Meade.

“We’ve got really extensive rules and regulations that deal with that and ultimately it’s a call for our head of football and our general counsel, and they’ll make that when they’ve got all the information in front of them,” he said.

Dillon was speaking at a post-Gather Round press conference, where the AFL and the SA government announced the Barossa Valley would host a game in 2025.