A humble Brayden O’Hara has faced the public to apologise, three days after he appeared to urinate in the Ovens and Murray premiership cup during celebrations.
A Snapchat video from the earlier hours of Monday morning was revealed by The Border Mail on Wednesday.
“I would like to sincerely apologise for the actions that took place Monday morning at Albury Base Hospital,” he told media on Thursday.
“I take full responsibility for my actions, it is not acceptable and I do not condone what I did.
“First of all, I’d like to apologise to the league, its sponsors, volunteers and supporters; the Albury Football Club, its members, volunteers and sponsors; the Albury Base Hospital, its staff, anyone present that morning in the emergency department; the Ovens and Murray community.
“I’ve embarrassed my family, friends, past players, present players of this prestigious league and the community.”
Albury president Stuart Hodgson also apologised to the league, community and The Border Mail for O’Hara’s actions and the decision of Elliott Powell to expose himself for a newspaper photo on mad Monday.
“These incidents have caused great embarrassment,” he said.
“On top of sanctions already imposed by the league, the club will also be implementing, at a minimum, a fine, which will be donated to the Albury Base Hospital.”
Both player and president said the incident was out of character for O’Hara and the club, which prided itself on a high-standing in the community and being a member of the Good Sports program.
“The onus is now on us as a club to repair that damage,” Mr Hodgson said.
“We will be strengthening our player education policies to ensure incidents such as these do not happen again.”
He said the club normally had rules around social media, but would not go into detail.
The Border Mail apologised to readers on Wednesday for inadvertently publishing a photo of the Tigers team posing in fancy dress during the team’s “mad Monday” celebrations in which Powell can be seen exposing himself.
Police issued a criminal infringement notice for Powell to pay a fine of about $400.
They also charged O’Hara charges in relation to the “offensive incident” and served him with a notice to attend court in November.
SERIES OF EVENTS STILL UNCLEAR
O’Hara could not provide an explanation for why, after hours of drinking alcohol, he chose to urinate in the cup.
“I can’t totally remember the night, but I’d just like to apologise for what I’ve done - it was disrespectful and I’m ashamed of the actions that took place,” he said.
“I respect the club, I respect winning premierships, I didn’t mean to do that in that manner at all.”
The Snapchat video showed O’Hara at the hospital with teammates Andrew Dennis and Joel Mackie, who suffered a bone-crunching collision during the grand final.
Asked how he came to get to the hospital with the cup, O’Hara was stopped from answering by Mackie who said it was “a private matter”.
NO WORD ON TIGER PUNISHMENT
Albury has not guaranteed O’Hara and Powell will remain at the club next season.
Mr Hodgson did not rule out parting ways with the players, but said the a fine or other punishment from the club was still to be worked out.
Any sanctions imposed against Albury Tigers players over their indiscretions during grand final celebrations may not be made public.
The Ovens and Murray Football Netball League strongly condemned the Tigers’ celebrations, calling them “disrespectful to the entire competition, the league, the Albury Base Hospital and the wider community”.
General manager Sean Barrett said on Thursday the incident breached the league’s bylaws, but any punishment might not be revealed.
“We’ll sanction them as we see fit,” he said.
“In the past it’s been dealt with by the league and the club and I expect that to happen again.”
The AFL confirmed it would not get involved in any punishment, leaving the Ovens and Murray to handle the situation.
Health and Sports Minister, and Farrer MP, Sussan Ley supported the response to the incident.
“Regardless of the circumstances, indecent behaviour by any player should not be tolerated,” she said.
“The O&M, Tigers and police appear to have dealt with these incidents swiftly and appropriately, and I am pretty sure the players and club will take away some important lessons as a result.”
SPONSORSHIP REMAINS SOLID
Mr Hodgson said there had been no been no fallback from the Tigers’ sponsors.
Sponsor and Albury Football Club director Paul Joss was at Thursday’s press conference with the players and president.
“We will continue to support the club - we owe it to all our volunteers who work very hard,” he said.
“This is an isolated incident and I believe that the Albury Tigers club is handling it appropriately.”
SS&A chief executive Gerard Darmody also commended the Ovens and Murray’s response.
“We’re in contact with the league and we’re happy with how they’re dealing with it,” he said.