Another AFL Player Pinged: Slurs During Match & Alleged Homophobia On Insta

Another AFL Player Pinged: Slurs During Match & Alleged Homophobia On Insta
Image: Image: Wil Powell Instagram / wilpowell27

Gold Coast Suns’ player Wil Powell is the latest offender in the recent string of homophobic slurs and abuse thrown around by AFL players. 

Powell was given a five-game ban on Thursday, after it was found he yelled a homophobic slur at a Brisbane Lions player during a match on Sunday. Neither the player nor the slur have been made public. 

Powell quickly apologised, and said he felt extremely remorseful for his actions. 

However, it has now been unearthed that one of Powell’s social media accounts allegedly posted several homophobic comments, several years ago. 

Homophobic comments allegedly posted by Wil Powell’s Instagram 

The Age has reported that Powell’s Instagram account has allegedly posted several homophobic comments.

Under a series of posts belonging to another football player, Powell is alleged to have written:

  • “probably lost cos (sic) gay”
  • “you can’t surf gay”
  • “Gay”
  • “pink looks good on you”

The Gold Coast Suns and the AFL are yet to publicly comment on the social media posts.

Wil Powell’s apology for homophobic slur

The Gold Coast Suns put out a statement about Wil Powell’s remorse over using the slur, and said that came to the club officials himself to tell them what he had done. 

The club also said he apologised to the player in question during the match, at the end of the match, and then contacted them hours later to apologise again. 

“As soon as the word came out of my mouth, I knew I had made a terrible mistake,” Powell said in a statement on Thursday.

“I have offered my apology to the Brisbane player and would like to publicly apologise for my comment. I will take full responsibility for what I said.

“I know there is no place for comments of that nature and I will accept the repercussions for my actions. I should have known better and I need to prove this with my actions moving forward.”

The statement from the Gold Coast Suns also said that Powell fully cooperated with an investigation by the AFL Integrity Unit.

AFL ‘disappointed’ at recent string of homophobic slurs

AFL general counsel Stephen Meade said he and the AFL were disappointed “to be dealing with a similar incident in only a matter of weeks”.

Meade is referring to the recent, heavily publicised and nearly identical incident where Port Adelaide’s Jeremy Finlayson was given a three-week ban for using a homophobic slur during a game.

Meade said the heavier consequences on Powell were due to this happening so soon after the Finlayson incident.

“The AFL acknowledges Powell’s remorse and cooperation, and while it has considered the circumstances in which the comment was made, there are no excuses for this conduct in our game,” he said.

“We foreshadowed both publicly and privately that after what transpired at Gather Round if a similar incident were to happen there would be further consequences.

“There could be no clearer message – homophobia has no place in our game, nor in society. We want all people in the community to feel welcomed in our game and comments such as Powell’s only takes away from this.”

AFL Players Association wants consistent punishment for homophobia

Paul Marsh, the CEO of the AFL Players’ Association, said he also approved of the lengthy ban given to Powell.

“We are disappointed at the homophobic language used by Wil Powell towards a Brisbane player on Sunday,” Marsh said.

“Wil’s words are hurtful, [and] offensive, and don’t belong on or off the football field, and we acknowledge the impact these situations cause the LGBTIQA+ community.

“I have personally spoken to Wil and he is extremely remorseful. He will use this as an opportunity to educate himself and, as he said today, ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“I have also spoken to Brisbane players who have accepted Wil’s apology.

“Given the AFL’s recent public position, we are not surprised by the size of this sanction, but we continue to believe the industry needs a formalised and consistent sanctioning framework. We have begun constructive discussions with the AFL about this.”

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