Home » AFL’s Wil Powell suspended after allegedly calling player homophobic slur

AFL’s Wil Powell suspended after allegedly calling player homophobic slur

Australian Football League (AFL) player Wil Powell has been suspended from the next five matches after allegedly calling a fellow player a homophobic slur, which he admitted was a “terrible mistake”.

The Gold Coast Suns defender uttered the offensive homophobic language towards a Brisbane Lions player on 5 May’s match at Brisbane Cricket Ground, just one month after AFL player Jeremy Finlayson uttered a similar slur during a match.

Gold Coast Bulletin reported that Powell told match officials about his comment and offered an apology to the Lions player during the game, at the end of the game, and in the following hours after the match.

Powell released a statement via video on Gold Coast Suns’ official X (formerly Twitter) account, where he said the slur “slipped… on accident”. He added that he was “very hurt by saying [the slur]”.

He continued: “As soon as the word came out of my mouth, I knew I had made a terrible mistake.

“I have offered my apology to the Brisbane player and would like to publicly apologise for my comment. I will take full responsibility for what I said.

“I know there is no place for comments of that nature and I will accept the repercussions for my actions. I should have known better and I need to prove this with my actions moving forward,” he concluded, explaining that he accepts the punishment handed to him.

Gold Coast chief executive Mark Evans said: “Wil’s comment was completely unacceptable and in no way reflects what we stand for as a football club.

“We have spoken to Wil to ensure he understands the severity of his comment and the effect comments like these can have on others. He has committed to work hard to educate and better himself and he will have the club’s support to make those improvements.”

The AFL also responded, calling Powell’s comments “highly offensive” and adding that it “demeans and denigrates any person regardless of their sexuality” after he was found to breach a code of conduct.

“It is extremely disappointing to be dealing with a similar incident in only a matter of weeks,” AFL general counsel Stephen Meade said.

“The AFL acknowledges Powell’s remorse and cooperation, and while it has considered the circumstances in which the comment was made, there are no excuses for this conduct in our game.

“We foreshadowed both publicly and privately that after what transpired at Gather Round if a similar incident was to happen there would be further consequences.

“There could be no clearer message – homophobia has no place in our game, nor in society.

“We want all people in the community to feel welcomed in our game and comments such as Powell’s only takes away from this. As a code, as a community, we all must be better,” Meade concluded.