Richmond champion Kevin Bartlett believes the AFL has created a massive problem by failing to send Dustin Martin to the tribunal following his contact with umpire Jacob Mollison on Sunday.
Martin was handed a $1500 fine for the incident during Richmond’s 18-point win over Geelong, as his contact was labelled as 'careless' not 'intentional', but Bartlett strongly disagrees with the findings.
“Should he have gotten off? I don’t think so,” he said on SEN's KB and the Doc.
“It was intentional, the contact with the umpire.
“I don’t think you can say it was careless under any set of circumstances.
“He is very, very lucky, Dustin.”
Last year’s Brownlow Medallist was demonstrating his actions to Mollison after a free kick was paid to Patrick Dangerfield in the third quarter, and Bartlett said the decision not to suspend Martin opens up a bigger issue for the league.
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“Now what they’re saying is ‘if you get pushed in the back, or caught around the neck or you get grabbed by the jumper, you’re entitled to go up to the umpire and show him’,” he said.
“This is where this is going to cause a lot of problems for the MRO, Michael Christian, and also the AFL.
“Because under those circumstances I don’t think we should have players going up and remonstrating with the umpire.”
After Tom Hawkins and Ed Curnow were suspended for umpire contact earlier in the season, Bartlett said the inconsistency in the MRO’s findings leaves uncertainty amongst players.
“This is going to be fraught with danger because what it does say now to players is ‘you can go up and you can demonstrate and remonstrate with an umpire and show him why you should’ve got a free kick or why you shouldn’t have had a free kick against you’,” he said.