Lessons must be learnt from lenient tribunal sentence
FOR those who wondered why the police were asked to investigate an incident on a football field instead of leaving it in the hands of the South West Football League Tribunal, here it is.
A six-week suspension for a deliberate knee to the head causing five breaks including the eye socket – the absolute minimum they could hand down – what kind of deterrent is that?
Footy players are always scuffling, punching and bumping each other but generally both parties are aware they are involved in something. Unfortunately, it’s become an accepted part of the game but this wasn’t even in that realm of stupidity.
This was a man kneeing another man in the head and it could have had a very different outcome.
The league said the tribunal had to wait until after the police investigation to not prejudice a trial. Why? This wasn’t a case of he said, he said.
The victim had no memory of the incident and relied on witnesses to tell him what happened.
It was an off-ball attack witnessed by three umpires plus other players. He didn’t even see it coming, pretty black and white I thought. This should have been dealt with immediately to show that the league won’t tolerate this behaviour.
The Collie Eagles Football Club wanting to support their captain is completely understandable, but why did they defend him so vehemently with complete knowledge of his actions?
Everyone makes mistakes, even good guys, so why didn’t they encourage him to own this one, to say sorry, accept the consequences and move on? At least if he’d done that, he would still deserve that captain’s badge.
I am yet to hear the league or the CEFC condemn this incident, nor have I heard an apology from Mr Blackford, but still I hope he’s learnt something from this and moves on.
The weeks after the injury were very draining for the victim’s family and I’m sure this has been a trying time for Mr Blackford’s family also.
I believe the SWFL needs some new blood and some new procedures because it’s clear what they’re doing now doesn’t work and I hope at least internally the CEFC have discussed this between themselves and decided they won’t allow it again.