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Buti's call: Andrew Gaff is no thug, and it's time to move on

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09.07.2019

West Coast Eagle Andrew Gaff is not a thug.

But on August 5 last year, he made a big mistake.

Andrew Gaff after recieving his suspension at the AFL tribunal. Credit:Chris Hopkins

During the third quarter of that game, in a behind-the-play incident, Gaff unleashed a punch to the face of 18-year-old first-year Docker Andrew Brayshaw.

The young Docker fell to the ground with blood pouring out of his mouth. It was a sickening incident, and one of the most brutal acts I can remember happening at an AFL game in recent times.

Brayshaw’s jaw was broken, his teeth displaced. He was unable to eat solids for at least four weeks and his season came to a premature end.

The reaction and responses to the incident at the time, and up to last Saturday’s Western Derby from the Dockers’ and Eagles’ supporters, including from prominent personalities in the media and law, has been passionate – and at the same time, disconcerting.

My immediate reaction was shock and disgust. And when I heard some of the Eagles’ supporters cheering when Gaff returned to the field of play I was livid.

I decided I would not engage in any social media commentary; however, when a Facebook friend posted, “Thank you Dockers for helping boost our percentage today”, I saw red.

I posted a response, telling the Facebook friend that his comments were most insensitive. I added that I thought he might show some empathy towards the injured Brayshaw rather than engaging in the worst aspects of tribalism.

Prominent Perth........

© The Sydney Morning Herald