Imagine being a leading footballer and finding yourself in a nightclub one evening with a girl who is intoxicated. Should you fetch her a glass of water? Call her a taxi? Or take her back to your place and have sex with her?
This is the type of moral conundrum that Australian Football League (AFL) players will soon be grappling with, hypothetically at least, courtesy of an educational DVD that the sport's ruling body plans to release in an effort to improve attitudes to women.
The interactive DVD forms part of a campaign launched following a series of scandals that have hit Aussie Rules, as the sport is known, and other football codes. The AFL has declined to give details of its content, but The Australian newspaper reported that it challenges players to respond to a number of scenarios involving drink and women.
Footballers are asked, for instance, to imagine that a friend's girlfriend summons them into her bedroom, believing that they are her boyfriend. What should they do? Two choices are offered: a) Hop into bed with the girl and pretend to be her boyfriend; b) Walk away.
As if that scenario were not testing enough, players will also be asked to reflect on what action to take if they happen to come across a friend and his girlfriend having sex. The choices are equally stark. Should they: a) watch; b) not watch.
Not surprisingly, critics poured derision on the DVD yesterday, calling it absurd and simplistic. But the AFL's communications manager, Patrick Keane, defended it, and said it would be compulsory viewing for every Aussie Rules player. He said it was part of the league's "respect and responsibility" programme, which was introduced three years ago following a number of incidents involving players.
"If the players already know the message, then we've done something that wasn't required, but ... it's better that we do something," he said.
"The programme deals with a number of things including attitudes to women, racial vilification, illicit drugs and responsible gambling."
Wayne Carey, former captain of the Kangaroos, a leading Melbourne team, might benefit from watching the DVD. A few years ago Carey was caught inflagrante in a lavatory at a party with the wife of his vice-captain, Anthony Stevens. Carey, who retired in 2004, is currently facing charges in the US for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, and also a police officer.
Adam Selwood, who plays for the Eagles, a West Australian team, might learn something too. Selwood allegedly claimed that he had slept with a girl tattooed on the shoulder of Des Headland, a player from a rival team. When Headland retorted that the girl was his six-year-old daughter, Selwood allegedly responded: "Yeah, she's a slut."
The DVD took four days to shoot and reportedly warns players about the hazards of girls throwing themselves at them, and advises them to make sure a woman is 100 per cent willing before having sex with her.
Eddie McGuire, the president of Collingwood Club, said: "Young men come into football and go from not being able to get a date at the social to suddenly having half a nightclub throwing themselves at them."Reuse content