AFL player apologises for setting dwarf on fire
An Australian Football League player was fined and forced to apologise yesterday to a dwarf entertainer set on fire during a prank in arguably the sport's most bizarre end-of-season celebration.
The incident also prompted an apology from the league's chief executive, Andrew Demetriou, who laughed and giggled on live television when told of the allegations against St Kilda player Clinton Jones, which he said he initially thought were a joke.
The dwarf, Blake Johnston, and his colleague Arthur Serevetas were booked by the club to entertain players at their so-called "Mad Monday" event this week.
Channel Nine said a group of players began using a lighter to set fire to each other's clothes. Then Jones is said to have turned his attention to Johnston, who is also a wrestler and goes under the moniker Mr Big.
"A player went behind my friend with one of those gas lighters that you light up a stove and basically lit him up," Serevetas said. "Part of his shirt and pants caught on fire. After that someone put it out and he got ticked off and we basically left."
Serevetas said he considered Jones' conduct as criminal and had advised his colleague, who was not seriously hurt, to take action.
Victoria police confirmed a complaint had been lodged and they were investigating. The club later said Jones had been fined A$3,000 (HK$20,900) for misconduct and had apologised personally to Johnston for the "inadvertent action".
"Mad Monday" celebrations, invariably alcohol-fuelled and in fancy dress, have a long history of making the wrong headlines across various sporting codes.
In 2010 ex-Canberra National Rugby League player Joel Monaghan simulated a sex act with a dog in a Mad Monday party following the 2010 season - sparking global shame as a picture of the incident went viral and the RSPCA got involved.
AFL club North Melbourne's tasteless 2009 video of a condom-clad rubber chicken performing sex acts, which surfaced on YouTube, also attracted criticism.