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Blue language puts players' code on agenda

Football

Carlton captain Marc Murphy has hit back at speculation surrounding the nature of a sledge about his wife which St Kilda have admitted was inappropriate.

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Murphy was incensed at the Saints’ sledging, understood to be highly personal in nature, during Saturday’s AFL match.

He directed words at Jake Carlisle while the opposition defender was injured on the ground.

Murphy addressed the social media storm surrounding what was said in a statement on Twitter.

“I would like to respond to highly inappropriate social media commentary that has escalated in the past few days,” Murphy said on Monday.

“I want to be clear that these comments are untrue, hurtful to my wife and family and show a lack of respect to women.

“We would like to move on and will not be making any further comment.”

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson and captain Jarryn Geary both called Murphy yesterday and admitted the remarks had overstepped the line.

“Yeah there were a couple of things that were said, a couple of comments, a bit of banter between the two groups,” Richardson told Fox Sports’ AFL 360.

“But we don’t hide from the fact that we didn’t quite get that right and we need to be better.

“We want our footy to do the talking.”

Richardson denied there was a relentless campaign of sledging directed at Murphy but said he was happy with his players’ response when tensions boiled over during the game.

Earlier on Monday the clubs told the AFL they didn’t want action taken over the furore.

“Neither club has lodged a complaint with the AFL,” an AFL spokesman said.

“The AFL has spoken to both clubs to confirm if any complaint may be lodged and we have been advised by both clubs they did not wish for any further action.”

But the incident has put a possible players’ code on the agenda of AFL Players’ Association chief executive Paul Marsh.

Geelong skipper Joel Selwood said AFL players were aware of the sledging limits.

“I think there probably is a place for (sledging) but there’s a fine line in it,” he said.

Essendon stalwart Brendon Goddard said during his 15-year career, players always knew the sledging line not to be crossed.

“Everyone has got a sense of where that line is,” Goddard said.

“I don’t want to sound too hypocritical as I don’t mind a chirp on the ground but there is still essentially that line in the sand when it does come to that.”

Past greats including Wayne Carey said the sledging code was simple: if it’s personal, it’s wrong.

“If Murph has taken it that way, then it is wrong,” Carey told Triple M radio.

Carey later told Channel 7 that he had previously been forced to speak with Murphy to shoot down false rumours about a relationship between the former Kangaroos and Crows star and the Carlton skipper’s wife Jessie.

“It clearly had no truth to it whatsoever so I didn’t worry about it too much [but] it started to grow legs a little bit more and a little bit more.

“I’ve been in contact with Murph for the last year and a half… as this rumour and innuendo grew and grew and grew.

“I have never, ever, ever had a conversation with Marc Murphy’s wife. I don’t even know her. But Murph and I have been in constant contact.”

Marc Murphy and beauty blogger Jessie Habermann pose for a photograph in the Birdcage on Melbourne Cup Day last November. They were married the following month. Photo: Dan Himbrechts / AAP

He said he “wasn’t a part of any of that sledging” on the weekend.

“My name wasn’t brought up in any of that sledging by the St Kilda players… this arose on the weekend and straight away people started putting that rumours back out on social media,” he said.

“There is not one element of truth to all of this. This has reignited this stupid rumour that is just wrong.”

Bombers great Tim Watson called for players to consider a code of conduct while premiership coach Paul Roos slammed the Saints for the personal barbs, saying it was a blight on their club.

-AAP

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