The Brisbane Lions have launched an investigation into serious allegations that one of its players assaulted a man in a wheelchair during its Mad Monday celebrations.
The Courier-Mail reported this morning than solicitors for Robert Partridge have made a formal police complaint after he was tipped out of his wheelchair while waiting for a maxi taxi in Toowong, in the city's inner west.
A high-profile player is alleged to have said: “A wheelchair retard, you beauty,” before he was tipped over. The players then took his taxi, throwing food at the man when he protested, and left him lying on the ground.
The Brisbane Lions have issued an interim statement saying the club was previously unaware of the allegations and was investigating.
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said the investigations were underway into the alleged incident, but was surprised that, if true, it had not come to light earlier.
‘‘I’m aware of the report and we are looking into it and have already had conversations this morning with Brisbane Lions,’’ Demetriou told 3AW.
‘‘Suffice to say there’s not enough information at the moment, I wouldn’t be jumping to any conclusions. What’s interesting about this story is that it happened on Sunday and it’s Friday, normally these things would come out within 24 hours.
‘‘It’s pretty hard to keep these things quiet but we’re taking the matter seriously (and) we’ll look into it (but) we’re not jumping to any conclusions.’’
The allegations have emerged just days after St Kilda player Clinton Jones was fined, forced to apologise and make a charity donation after using a gas lighter to set a dwarf entertainer’s clothes alight at an end of season Saints function in South Melbourne on Monday.
Jones donated $3000 to the Kids with Cancer Foundation Australia and the victim, Blake Johnston, has accepted an apology over the incident.
‘‘You know my views on Mad Monday. I don’t get it,’’ Demetriou said. ‘‘We’ve spent considerable amount this year with all the clubs talking about all the risk of Mad Monday.
‘‘Some will be very responsible but a couple of our clubs don’t get it and I think it also causes great concern to the club officials.’’