North Melbourne Coach Alastair Clarkson Fined $20,000 Over Homophobic Slur

North Melbourne Coach Alastair Clarkson Fined $20,000 Over Homophobic Slur
Image: Alastair Clarkson. Image: North Melbourne FC Media

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has been fined $20,000 and handed a suspended ban for using a homophobic slur against two St Kilda players. 

The league on Friday imposed the fine for the use of “inappropriate language” and “conduct unbecoming”. Clarkson has been hit with a two-match ban, which had been suspended until the end of the 2025 season and will become active if he reoffends. 

Clarkson has also been asked to attend a Pride in Sport training.  Clarkson used the offensive words during his expletive-laden tirade on Sunday after St Kilda player Jimmy Webster bumped  Jy Simpkin during a practice match at Moorabbin. The incident left the North Melbourne player with a head concussion. 

Clarkson confronted St Kilda players and allegedly called St Kilda players Webster and Dougal Howard c*#ksucker. Webster was handed a seven-match suspension.

Clarkson Apologises

On Monday Clarkson apologised for his language, He issued a second apology on Friday. 

“At the outset, I want to reiterate my initial public apology and acknowledge that my exchange with the St Kilda players was unnecessary and the language I used was inappropriate,” Clarkson said in a statement. 

“I am disappointed that I allowed the emotion of the moment to envelope me and I should not have engaged with the St Kilda players. I have since apologised to St Kilda coach Ross Lyon, Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard for the manner in which I reacted.”

Clarkson claimed this incident had led him to reflect on his choice of language. “My language was not used with any intent to vilify or marginalise, however through this incident, I have begun to understand the impact of the use of casual language. I am fully committed to educating myself in this regard,” said Clarkson. 

Unacceptable Language

North Melbourne CEO Jennifer Watt said that Clarkson had “reflected on how he responds to incidents like we saw on Sunday, and we’ll support him as he seeks to be better in those situations.”

“As Alastair has identified himself, his behaviour and the language he used was unacceptable and he has taken responsibility for that,” said Watt.

This is not the first time that Clarkson has faced backlash over his outbursts. He hurled an insult at a reporter in 2013 and the same year verbally abused two Port Melbourne players during a game. Last year, he apologised to a female sports journalist after telling her “Your time will come”.

Clarkson was one of the coaches named over an alleged racism episode at the Hawthorn Football Club. Clarkson denied the allegations. The AFL terminated its investigation into the allegations in 2023 after reaching an agreement with First Nations players.

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