Cousins sorry for one-finger salute - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cousins sorry for one-finger salute

By Guy Hand 31/05/2009 11:14:46 PM Comments (0)

Richmond's Ben Cousins has apologised for his offensive gesture captured on national television on Saturday night.

The Tigers released a short statement late on Sunday night in which Cousins said he had not intended to cause any offence for his controversial action.

The troubled star stared down a dressing-room television camera and defiantly flipped his middle finger while preparing for Richmond's clash with Fremantle in Perth.

"It was never my intention to cause any offence," Cousins said.

"However, I appreciate that my actions could have caused offence to some people, and for that I apologise."

The admission came after AFL boss Andrew Demetriou said the troubled star's gesture was "totally unnecessary".

"We don't want any players doing that sort of thing, let alone Ben Cousins," Demetriou told ABC television on Sunday.

"People watching it, particularly children, will be asking themselves what was that all about.

"He'll have to explain himself. It was totally unnecessary, very unwarranted and it didn't make any sense."

Demetriou indicated the matter would be dealt with by the AFL's football operations department, meaning Cousins is now facing a hefty fine.

Under AFL match review panel guidelines, Cousins would have faced a maximum $1,200 fine for the gesture.

But now the incident has been referred higher up the AFL disciplinary food chain as it was deemed to be "off-field", the league could impose a far higher penalty.

Richmond teammate Nathan Brown was slugged with a $5,000 fine in 2002 for a similar offence when playing for the Western Bulldogs, flipping "the bird" to the crowd after kicking a goal.

And the AFL has a recent history of "please explains" followed by hefty fines for those deemed to have crossed the line.

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett copped a $5,000 fine in April for public criticism of umpires.

Confessed drug addict Cousins has only just begun to repair his battered image after being banned by the AFL for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute.

Cousins' gesture overshadowed his starring role in the Tigers' thrilling three-point win over Fremantle.

The midfielder had 25 touches and booted a goal in his best match for the club which threw him a career lifeline after his ban expired late last year.

The match against Fremantle was the first time Cousins had played in Perth since been sacked by West Coast in 2007 and his subsequent AFL ban.

Richmond coach Terry Wallace said it was up to the "adjudicators" to deal with Cousins.

"We'll speak internally about how we handle things once I've had a look."

Tigers assistant coach David King said the Cousins incident was disappointing, but the pressure associated with his return to his home town may have contributed.

"It is amazing the attention this boy's under. In all honesty he's had a lapse," King told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

"He'll come under scrutiny, there's no doubt about that.

"And it is disappointing because that's not the type of thing we need to be seeing."

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