The AFL has publicly apologised to former Adelaide Crows star Eddie Betts over his experience at a controversial pre-season training camp, as talk of a class action swirls.
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A chapter in Eddie Betts’s newly released biography details trauma of a 2018 pre-season training camp
The AFL and Adelaide Crows has apologised to Betts
Sports lawyer Greg Griffin says he has spoken to several players about a potential class action
Betts, a 350-game veteran who retired last year, outlined the trauma he experienced as a result of the 2018 camp in his new biography.
The AFL’s chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan has apologised to Betts for the hurt caused by the camp.
McLachlan told radio station 3AW this morning that the camp was “investigated thoroughly” by the AFL and by WorkCover SA, and both organisations found it had not breached any rules.
“It doesn’t mean that there weren’t things there that were, just as I said, disgracefully executed,” he said.
“To which we made change to the system and I’m sorry that Ed was wounded.”
McLachlan said changes made by the AFL included introducing an Indigenous liaison officer at every club and “structured, regular communications with our Indigenous cohorts”.
Camps also have to be given AFL approval before proceeding.
“Every camp has to be signed off by the AFL to make sure we protect the physical and mental wellbeing of all the participants,” he said.
McLachlan said he had known Betts was “wounded by this for some time”, but only learnt “specific detail” in recent days.
McLachlan said when he heard it would help Betts to publicly apologise, he was “very happy to do it”.
“We are sorry for the broader failings,” he said.
The Crows also apologised to Betts earlier this week.
The AFL Players Association said they would speak to all players who attended the camp.
McLachlan said the AFL’s integrity unit would look into Betts’s claims in his book that he was “essentially” talked out of discussing a racist letter he had received at a press conference ahead of the Indigenous Round in 2016.
Lawyer pursuing potential class action
Prominent Adelaide lawyer Greg Griffin, who specialises in sports law, says he has spoken to several players who were on the Crows list in 2018 about a potential class action.
Adelaide Crows coach Matthew Nicks, who was appointed to the club in 2019, said he was unaware of those reports.
“I didn’t know that was the case,” he said.
“It is hard for me to comment around as well, not being at the footy club [at the time].
“In saying that, I was saddened to see how Eddie was affected, and others.”
Nicks said he had spoken to “several” current players who attended the camp, and would reach out to Betts and other former players in the coming weeks to “see how they’re going”.
“I think everyone’s affected differently,” he said.
He said the club was committed to rebuilding and was “doing a lot of work around our past”.
“This is a moment where we want to do the right thing,” he said.