Teen's nude pictures expose tough guys of Australian sport
Friday 24 December 2010
She is only 17 years old and cannot be named, but she is holding one of Australia's most popular football teams to ransom. Two nude photographs of star footballers have already gone viral; now the girl is threatening to publish more, apparently undeterred by a court order and death threats.
Posted on the teenager's Facebook page, the photos show Nick Riewoldt, captain of Melbourne-based St Kilda, and two of his team-mates, Nick Dal Santo and Zac Dawson. She says she took them in a Melbourne hotel room. The men say they were taken in Miami by a fellow "Saints" player, Sam Gilbert, and stolen by the girl from Gilbert's laptop. Facebook has now shut the girl's page down.
The precise nature of her connection with St Kilda footballers is unclear. Riewoldt says he has never met her. Gilbert says she and a friend visited his home earlier this year and used his laptop. The girl herself claims to be motivated by revenge. She says that after a Saints player (not featured in the photographs) got her pregnant she complained to St Kilda but was poorly treated by both the club and its governing body, the Australian Football League (AFL).
However, the anonymous teenager – she has given numerous media interviews without being identified – has not only St Kilda but other teams and the powerful AFL quaking in their boots. She claims to have 19 further photos – some pornographic – of footballers from up to eight clubs and on Twitter yesterday she urged other women with grievances against AFL players to email her their pictures.
St Kilda went to court in Melbourne yesterday to secure an order prohibiting her from releasing more photos. It promised further legal action to prevent her profiting from the images. The team's vice-president, Ross Levin, called the girl a malicious troublemaker, saying fair-minded Australians had been "appalled at the delight that she has expressed [on social networking sites] in causing distress" to the players.
According to an affidavit by Riewoldt's manager, Ricky Nixon, in September the girl offered to sell him the photograph of the Saints captain for A$20,000 (£13,000).
The AFL's chief executive, Andrew Demetriou, told Melbourne radio this week that league officials had met the girl on at least 20 occasions since she made the pregnancy allegation in April. "We've also provided her with counselling services, support services, certainly accommodation," he said.
The girl, who says she lost the baby, has said her parents have told her they would never speak to her again. She also claimed to have received many death threats. St Kilda was planning to return to court today to seek an order obliging her to destroy all images obtained from Gilbert's computer. But it remains to be seen if the troubled girl at the centre of this unseemly affair will take any notice.
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