Bomber Langford condemns Finlayson’s homophobic slur

Shayne Hope and Oliver Caffrey |

Port’s Jeremy Finlayson (R) will learn of his penalty for a homophobic slur before Thursday night.
Port’s Jeremy Finlayson (R) will learn of his penalty for a homophobic slur before Thursday night.

Essendon forward Kyle Langford has condemned Jeremy Finlayson’s use of a homophobic slur as the Port Adelaide forward awaits the outcome of an AFL investigation into the matter.

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

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

Langford said he was aware of the slur made towards one of his teammates and expected the AFL to “deal with it”.

“Any kind of homophobic language is just not acceptable in today’s game or even society, so that will be dealt with,” Langford told 3AW’s Wide World of Sports on Monday night.

“I’m very close with a lot of people in the LGBTIQ community and I’ve done a lot of work with the Purple Bombers (Essendon’s diversity and inclusion supporter group).

“It shouldn’t be any different to any kind of racial slur.

“It’s not acceptable and Jeremy (Finlayson) has owned up to it, so good on him, but the AFL will deal with it.”

Kyle Langford.
Kyle Langford reacts after kicking a goal in the Bombers’ round-three win over St Kilda. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Essendon coach Brad Scott believed the incident highlighted how far society and the AFL has come in handling homophobia.

He insisted none of his players told him about the slur during, or after, the game and the AFL “instigated” the investigation.

“Every now and then there’s a transgression,” Scott said on Tuesday.

“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.

“Thirty 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.”

Brad Scott (2R).
Brad Scott (2R) heads off the ground after Essendon’s loss to Port in Adelaide. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

In 2022, the NRL suspended Warriors winger Marcelo Montoya for four matches after directing a homophobic slur at North Queensland star Kyle Feldt.

The NRL wanted a six-week ban, but took Montoya’s previous good record, the remorse he had shown and his guilty plea into consideration.

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

Langford said he was at the opposite end of the ground to where Finlayson made his comment on Friday night.

AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon confirmed the league’s investigation would be completed before the next round of games, starting on Thursday.