Dual premiership Kangaroo David King believes it’s wrong to accuse North Melbourne of concealing Tarryn Thomas’ misdemeanours and behavioural issues, saying the club appeared to support the 22-year-old rather than defend him.
The Kangaroos on Wednesday night confirmed Thomas would take time away from the club after the AFL’s integrity unit notified the club of a fresh allegation of inappropriate behaviour against him.
It came hours after the Roos didn’t commit to any disciplinary action against Thomas, despite a detailed Herald Sun report that included a series of allegations he’d harassed and threatened multiple women.
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Thomas is undergoing club mandated respectful behaviour training and an education program to address what North Melbourne called his “behavioural issues”. He has also made a commitment to co-operate fully in any AFL or police investigation.
Speaking on SEN Breakfast on Friday, said the allegations against Thomas were “really disappointing and disturbing”, adding there was a “level of awkwardness to it” for the dual All-Australian to address it publicly.
But King said his former club didn’t appear to sweep the issue under the carpet.
“I think you’ve got to be careful here because when you talk about what North Melbourne are doing. I think they’re supporting Tarryn rather than defending him,” King said on his SEN Breakfast program.
“I just want to put that on the table at the start because you’re tracking back to events of last year, those events were reported to the police and the AFL integrity department. Then clearly they took a course of action to try and change Tarryn’s behaviour and help him through what this situation is. I think you’ve got to be careful not to confuse that for defending or trying to sweep things under the carpet … they certainly haven’t done that.”
“Obviously, things shifted when more information came to light.
“I understand other people have got different views on how it should have been handled from minute one – and I don’t necessarily disagree with some of the comments you (Kane Cornes) have made. But I just think you’ve got to be careful … (there’s) a difference between supporting and defending.
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“Clearly they’ve taken a management pathway to change his behaviour. So I think there was a point of action. To say it was hidden is not quite true.”
But SEN co-host Kane Cornes said the club should’ve been more transparent with its members and supporters last year.
“Why does the club only react when it becomes public? Do you think they would have been better off to jump on the front foot? Because I look at it and go: ‘We only hear from you because it was in the Herald Sun when you’ve known about it for so long,’” the Power premiership player said.
“I just think when you are so strong on the standards at the footy club and others fall foul of the standard, it’s: ‘We’re suspending this guy, we’re dropping this guy’ – as footy clubs do all the time. You get a much more serious issue that it looks like they were trying to hide it – and not just North Melbourne, by the way, the AFL as well, there’s criticisms there with the way that they have handled it.
“The other point is they were supporting him on Wednesday in the morning, and then one more allegation tipped it over the edge to stand him down. I was like hang on, they’ve got all these multiple allegations from multiple people, why was it the one extra one that forced them to take this action that they hadn’t taken in the morning?”
Thomas last month was charged by Victoria Police with a single count of threatening to distribute an intimate image. North Melbourne in response didn’t announce any sanctions for the player, instead saying it’d “continue to work with Thomas regarding behavioural expectations”.
It prompted claims of “hypocrisy” from Cornes about how the club handled No. 1 pick Jason Horne-Francis, who was sensationally traded to Port Adelaide after just one season on the Kangaroos’ list that saw him feature consistently in headlines.
But King said North Melbourne’s handling of Thomas and Horne-Francis were two completely separate issues and circumstances.
“No one’s arguing that this kid (Thomas) has behavioural issues that need to be addressed – and that, I think, is how they started addressing those things and trying to support him through that. It gets to a stage where you can no longer support. When the extra cases are mounting up, clearly there had to be some more aggressive action, which has come to light,” King said.
“But I just think comparing that to Jason is wildly inaccurate.”
Story Credit: foxsports.com.au