Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin has made the headlines once again, this time for two separate reasons. For a change, neither of which are related to the ongoing question of the season as to whether he’ll re-sign with Hawthorn at the season’s end.
At midnight last night the Herald Sun ran with a story about Franklin’s run in with a woman at a nightspot, where she accused him of being an “absolute disgrace of a human” who physically intimidated her by leaning over her and yelling in her face. She described the event as “pretty obscene” saying she was “disgusted and pretty shaken up” by the incident.
The other headline was on the AFL website, an exclusive interview with the key forward stating that he was keen to step up and be a good role model for young indigenous players by improving his leadership skills.
This morning Buddy took to twitter to defend himself stating, “Maybe the @heraldsun should ask Nicky and publish why she approached me and what she said. I am not for one minute saying how I reacted was right but when someone comes up and verbally attacks me and the people I care about for no apparent reason I think it’s only natural to defend yourself. But I guess that’s not an appealing story is it.”
The essence of Buddy’s statement is that he was verbally assaulted by this woman and he responded accordingly. Which if you distill it further, comes down to the ‘she was asking for it’ defence. There’s no denying that AFL players are placed under considerable social and media pressure. They are constantly approached in public and the feedback isn’t always positive.
Yet, at 26 years of age, Lance Franklin isn’t a child. He’s a grown man who needs to take responsibility for his actions. If the woman in question was rude to him, then he simply should have walked away. Or he should have calmly told her to move along. While we are all human beings and we all make errors of judgement, there is a fine line to cross particularly when you’re as high profile as Franklin is. While it is natural to defend yourself, it becomes problematic when your defence is as aggressive and sexist as Franklin’s allegedly was and then you go to Twitter to justify it.
Already on social media there are people throwing sexist remarks at the complainant and accusing her of only seeking publicity, and of being a liar. To these individuals who are mirroring the actions of the superstar player they are trying to defend, I would suggest you realise that Lance Franklin was made to apologise for a reason, because his actions, no matter the provocation, were wrong.