AFL stops Carey’s elevation to NSW legend status

Roger Vaughan |

Wayne Carey’s elevation to legend status at NSW’s Football Hall of Fame has been blocked by the AFL.
Wayne Carey’s elevation to legend status at NSW’s Football Hall of Fame has been blocked by the AFL.

The AFL has blocked Wayne Carey’s elevation to legend status in a new football hall of fame, citing the issue of violence against women as the reason.

AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon says he rang Carey on Friday morning, hours before the inaugural members of the NSW Football Hall of Fame were to be officially inducted at an SCG function.

The former North Melbourne great was originally among 10 of those inductees who were to be granted official legend status.

While Dillon explained that the AFL did not object to Carey’s induction to the hall of fame, it took issue with the extra honour.

“(On Thursday) afternoon the AFL executive were alerted to the decision by the NSW Hall of Fame committee for Carey to be elevated to legend status,” Dillon said in a statement.

“We didn’t think it was the right decision. I called Wayne Carey earlier (on Friday) morning to inform him of this and he agreed that being made a legend would take away from the event and the important focus on the national response to the issue of gender-based violence against women. 

“He also agreed the focus should be on the inaugural inductees and the nine legends of NSW football that will be announced (on Friday night).”

In his statement, Dillon also noted Carey’s 2010 induction to the Australian Football Hall Of Fame.

Carey, 52, is one of the AFL’s greatest players, captaining North to two premierships during a 272-game career with the Kangaroos and Adelaide.

But the Wagga native also has had a succession of off-field controversies during and after his player career.

The timing of the NSW function and Carey’s part in it are particularly sensitive, given the AFL is using this weekend’s games to pay tribute to women who have died through gender-based violence.

Before each game, players, senior coaches and umpires will form a circle in the middle of the ground as a symbolic gesture.

In a TV interview, Carey spoke about his exposure to domestic violence growing up and how he had treated his partners.

“What my partners will say, I have never been physically abusive – but have I been abusive mentally and, I guess, intimidating? Absolutely,” he said.

“Actually being physically violent to someone, I saw that every day growing up, the way my dad was with my mum – horrible stuff.”