AFL personally apologizes to Buddy Franklin after being labeled ‘cowardly’ by tribunal – because Swans star won’t undo striking suspension
- AFL lawyer labeled Franklin ‘cowardly’ for his attack on Trent Cotchin
- Comments from AFL attorney Andrew Woods infuriated the Sydney Swans
- AFL then issued a statement Thursday condemning Woods’ choice of words
- Franklin failed to overturn strike ban, will miss clash against Demons
The AFL has apologized to champion striker Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin – and to the Sydney Swans – after the league’s representative to the tribunal labeled his hit on Richmond captain Trent Cotchin as ‘cowardly’.
Sydney club officials were reportedly fuming after AFL lawyer Andrew Woods used the offensive term during an altercation before the tribunal on Wednesday night.
The AFL released a statement Thursday condemning Mr Woods’ poor choice of words during the hearing.
“There are no cowardly players in the AFL, let alone Lance Franklin. Lance Franklin is a champion of our game,” the statement read.
“While submitting comments, the legal counsel assisting the Tribunal (Mr Woods) used his own words to describe the circumstances of the strike on Trent Cotchin, namely that Mr Cotchin did not reasonably expect to be hit by Mr Franklin beaten.’
The AFL has personally apologized to the Sydney Swans and champion striker Buddy Franklin after a tense hearing on Wednesday night
It wasn’t just Mr. Woods who used questionable rhetoric at the hearing, with Franklin’s counsel Duncan Miller claiming that Cotchin had exaggerated the contact and needed to be nominated for the Logies – which also angered the AFL.
“Trent Cotchin is a premiership captain and one of the most respected leaders in the league,” the AFL said.
“It is the view of the AFL that rhetorical utterances of the nature used by both counsel should not be part of the AFL tribunal process and do not reflect the views of the AFL.
“The AFL has contacted Lance Franklin and the Sydney Swans to apologize for the comment and reiterated our respect for Lance and his position in the game.”
After deliberating for 30 minutes, the tribunal jury upheld Franklin’s strike charge, after using an open hand first to Cotchin’s throat and then to his jaw.
It was rated as “deliberate, low impact and high contact” by the AFL’s match review officer.
Franklin will miss this weekend’s showdown with the defending Prime Minister Melbourne.
The apology stemmed from a high-profile incident involving Franklin and Richmond’s Trent Cotchin, which AFL attorney Andrew Woods called “cowardly” during the hearing.
The AFL issued a statement Thursday saying that Mr Woods’ poor choice of words regarding Franklin’s behavior “does not reflect their opinion.”
During his argument before the tribunal, Mr Woods said Franklin’s attack was “brutal, it’s cowardly, and the opponent doesn’t expect it.”
“It’s AFL, not a Fight Club, or a martial art.”
Miller responded by saying that Cotchin lost contact trying to take a free kick.
“I’m inclined to say he might be invited to the Lodge this year and not the Brownlow.”
Former Collingwood president and Footy Classified presenter Eddie McGuire said both counsel’s allegations were “out of line.”
“Calling a player a coward and a cowardly act is almost defamatory,” McGuire said.
Co-host and former St Kilda and Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said the respective councilors ‘might feel good about that, but it’s not in line’.