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Broad banned for three games over AFL's topless photo scandal

Football

Richmond have suspended defender Nathan Broad for three matches after identifying him as the Tigers player who distributed a photo of a topless woman without her permission following the 2017 Grand Final. 

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Tigers president Peggy O’Neal announced the ban this morning, appearing alongside the apologetic defender at a press conference at Punt Road Oval.

The unidentified woman in the picture has dropped her complaint to police, but the law firm acting on her behalf released a statement this morning, saying she had been assured by the player – who she knew – that the photo had been deleted from his phone.

Neither Broad nor O’Neal took questions after each made a brief statement.

“I take full responsibility for what I have done,” said Broad, 24, who played ten of his 12 career AFL games this season, culminating in the Grand Final.

“I sent a very private picture without this young woman’s consent.

“I’m ashamed and I’m embarrassed that I made a very bad drunken decision.

“Not only have I let down my family, my friends and the Richmond football club, but most of all I let down a young woman who I cared about – a young woman who I spent time with before the grand final and a young woman who I like and respect.”

The woman was photographed topless on Grand Final night, wearing Broad’s premiership medallion, after the Tigers defeated Adelaide in the premiership decider.

Nathan Broad celebrates after the Grand Final. Photo: Julian Smith / AAP

A statement from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, representing the woman, said there had been “enormous media and public speculation about the situation in which the photograph was taken, the majority of which is not true and is unfair to our client who has done nothing wrong”.

“She has not received any money or other compensation from the player, the Richmond Football Club or the AFL,” the statement said.

“We can confirm that the woman knew the player prior to the 2017 Grand Final and believed there was a level of trust between them.

“She maintains that she insisted he delete the photo from his mobile phone as soon as it was taken, and that he assured her it had been.

“She was shocked and extremely confused when she saw the photo on social media the night after the Grand Final. She approached the player and football club for help to getting it removed from the Internet, but it soon became apparent that the image had gone ‘viral’.

“Her motivation for approaching police was for assistance in getting the image deleted from wherever it had been uploaded, rather than pursuing a criminal investigation into the player’s conduct. The latter was never her intention.”

The statement said the young woman’s decision not to proceed with the police investigation “was motivated by her desire to protect her identity and avoid any further attention and distress”.

“Her main focus has been protecting her privacy, welfare and dignity as she tries to come to terms with what has happened,” it said.

“The unauthorised distribution of her photograph and the subsequent attention it has received has had a devastating impact on the young woman’s wellbeing. She is desperate to maintain her anonymity as she tries to get on with her life as best she can.”

Victoria Police told NewsCorp last week their investigation had closed “at the request of the complainant”.

“This current development does not preclude the investigators from reopening the investigation at a later date,” a spokeswoman said.

The incident was also investigated by the AFL Integrity Unit after the police ceased their inquiries.

AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said Broad’s actions breached the league’s rules and its “respect and responsibility” policy.

He said that Broad’s actions were “irresponsible and totally unacceptable and have caused enormous distress for a young woman and her family”.

“The AFL has accepted the Richmond Football Club’s three-match sanction, during the 2018 AFL Premiership season,” he said.

“The AFL also acknowledge Nathan’s cooperation and public apology today.”

He said Broad’s “unacceptable actions will not be tolerated in the AFL, and our 18 clubs will continue to work to drive cultural change about respectful and responsible behaviour”.

The AFL asks media to please respect the privacy of the woman and her family.

-with AAP

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