June 15, 2012
AFL chief Andrew Demetriou says Carlton's Marc Murphy and Jeremy Laidler are likely to be fined for criticising umpires on Twitter following their team's loss to West Coast.
Demetriou says players have been told they can't comment on umpiring and there's simply no excuse for the way injured pair Murphy and Laidler reacted to Thursday night's 10-point defeat in Perth.
"I understand (AFL general manager of football operations) Adrian Anderson is preparing a 'please explain' letter to both of those gentlemen," Demetriou said on Friday at a function to announce a 10-year sponsorship extension for Carlton United Breweries.
"Everyone knows commenting on umpires, whether it's through Facebook, Twitter, email, press conference, over a radio interview is unacceptable.
"There's zero tolerance about that."
Murphy tweeted that the umpires had ruined a good game.
Laidler added: "Are you not meant to try and b 1st in at the footy anymore. If u do u will be pinned for holding the ball. SHOCKING".
Demetriou said the AFL found it extremely difficult to recruit umpires.
"We've got more umpires leaving the game than recruiting at all levels," he said.
"We will not accept any criticism of umpires and everyone knows that.
"Our players know that and they've been told about social media and its pitfalls.
"Adrian will deal with it. There's really no excuse to be talking about umpires.
"Normally in these situations, there would be a financial sanction."
Fans have raged on Twitter that the AFL is stifling freedom of speech by banning players' comments on umpires.
"I hear the arguments about freedom of speech. Freedom of speech has to come with some responsibility," Demetriou said.
"If we were all allowed to say everything we wanted to say we'd be in a bit of strife, particularly me.
"I don't buy this freedom of speech (argument)."
Demetriou joked he didn't go on Twitter because he felt no need to let people know when he was off to the supermarket or going to the toilet.
"If people want to (use) Twitter then fine, do it responsibly," he said.