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Port Adelaide Player Jeremy Finlayson Suspended Over Homophobic Slur

Port Adelaide’s Jeremy Finlayson has been suspended for three matches after using a homophobic slur against an Essendon opponent during the AFL’s Gather Round.

In a statement, the AFL said Finlayson was guilty of breaching AFL Rule 2.3(a) (Conduct Unbecoming) after using the slur during the third quarter in Friday night’s Port Adelaide vs Essendon match.

As well as the suspension, which sees him ineligible for selection in rounds five, six and seven, Finlayson is required to attend appropriate Pride in Sport training as approved by the AFL.

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Finlayson made an immediate apology and contrition, both privately on the night and publicly the next day and again on Monday.

The AFL said it took this into consideration when determining the sanction, and would have inflicted harsher penalties had Finlayson not addressed the incident immediately.

In a statement, Finlayson said he accepted the AFL’s sanction.

“The word I used has no place in our society or our game,” he said.

“Words can be very hurtful and what I said on Friday night was totally unacceptable.

“I unreservedly apologise again to the Essendon player, my teammates, Port Adelaide members and supporters and the LGBTQIA+ community for the distress I have caused.

“I accept the AFL’s sanction and now look forward to reflecting on my behavior and seeking education to improve myself and understand the impact such comments can have on the broader community.”

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AFL General Counsel Stephen Meade said everyone, including Finlayson, understood the word used was “unacceptable in any setting”.

“The AFL is very clear that homophobia has no place in our game, nor in society. We want all people in LGBTQI+ communities to feel safe playing or attending our games and we know the incident that happened on the weekend does not assist this goal,” he said/

“As a code we will continue to work together to improve our game as a safe and inclusive environment for all. The AFL will continue to consider the specific circumstances in each incident in determining appropriate responses.”

Finlayson’s suspension comes a month after North Melbourne head coach Alastair Clarkson was fined $20,000 and given a two-match suspension was using a homophobic slur in a practice match against St Kilda.

In 2021, Adelaide’s Taylor ‘Tex’ Walker was suspended for six matches after a racist comment made at an SANFL match.

He was also ordered to make a $20,000 donation to an ABorignal and Torres Strait Islander program.

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