Patrick Dangerfield hints at a central argument in his bump ban lawsuit.
When Patrick Dangerfield appears before the AFL tribunal on Tuesday, he has hinted that self-preservation would be a key argument.
After being charged with reckless behaviour, serious impact, and high contact by match review officer Michael Christian, the midfielder faces a weeks-long suspension.
When Dangerfield decided to bump and clash heads with his former housemate, Adelaide Crows player Jake Kelly sustained concussion and a broken nose.
On Tuesday, the AFL tribunal will decide if Dangerfield should be suspended for upcoming matches against Brisbane, Hawthorn, Melbourne, and North Melbourne.
“I’m not going to guess until we sit down, go through and see where it’s all at,” the Brownlow medallist said when asked if he had resigned himself to some time off.
“I think it’s a waste of time to look back at different situations because things have changed” (in regulations). “Who knows how it’ll turn out,” Dangerfield said.
The 30-year-old, who was at least a metre away when Kelly threw the ball, argued that his case hinges on his ability to defend himself in a 360-degree sport.
“Reviewing anything at 30 frames per second is pretty easy,” Dangerfield said.
“I believe that, just as you have a duty to look after the health and safety of others, you also have a responsibility to look after your own health and safety.
It’s still a collision sport, and I appreciate your stance on the importance of preventing concussions and protecting the head.
However, when you’re in an atmosphere or playing a game where you could clash with others, you have a responsibility to defend yourself.
“That’s exactly it; it’s a split second to determine whether or not to defend yourself against incoming enemies. That occurs once a week.”
The incident occurred during a first-round match that was overshadowed in part by the implementation of the contentious “medical substitute,” which was created after the AFL extended its discussions surrounding a concussion replacement.
Dangerfield is the president of the AFL Players’ Union, which backed efforts to shield players from head injury but objected to the replacement rule’s hasty implementation.
Concussions and the brain disease CTE, which has been diagnosed in the brains of deceased footballers Polly Farmer, Danny Frawley, and Shane Tuck, are causing growing concern in the AFL.
“It’s a contact sport, but we still have to make sure we’re looking after concussions and treating them in the right way and respecting them,” Dangerfield said of the delicate balance between rules and player welfare.
“However, it’s also a game that’s played at a high speed in 360 (degrees).” And it has been a part of the game for quite some time. Who knows what will happen in the coming days.”
His altercation with Kelly has reignited controversy over the bump, with football legends split on the message the AFL and the tribunal should deliver to players.
Dual premiership player David King disagrees with the idea of ‘safety,’ claiming that allowing such impacts contradicts the AFL’s efforts to protect players from concussion.
He requires the tribunal to exercise its authority and suspend Dangerfield for a month in order to teach footballers not to bowl into their “defenseless” teammates.
On Fox Sports, he said, “The end result is an accidental head collision, but the mechanics of how we got to (this) point is what we’ve got to improve.”
“Obviously, we haven’t seen the shift in actions. All should be put on alert. It wasn’t Patty Dangerfield last week; it was (Carlton’s Zac) Williams. There has been no improvement. It’s the two or three phases before you come in to make contact that we need to eliminate.”