MELBOURNE forward Jeremy Howe's unqualified apology for wiping his bloodied knee on a opponent has helped him avoid suspension at the AFL tribunal.
The tribunal jury of Wayne Schimmelbusch, Richard Loveridge and Wayne Henwood determined that Howe's instinctive act of misconduct, which he described as embarrassing, was worthy of a reprimand and 93.75 carry-over points.
AFL prosecutor Jeff Gleeson, SC, commended Howe for fully admitting his contact with Port Adelaide's Tom Jonas, despite the "ambiguous" long-range television footage of the incident.
Defence counsel Iain Findlay said the incident occurred after Jonas drew attention to the small abrasion on Howe's knee, in an attempt to get him ordered from the ground under the blood rule. Howe responded by lifting his knee and creating a two-inch "smudge mark" of blood on Jonas' shorts.
Second-year player Howe told the jury the incident was "an embarrassment to myself, out of character and an embarrassment to the club".
After the hearing, he added he was "very, very remorseful" for the incident.
"It was in the heat of the moment. If I had my time again I would have taken it back ... I knew I did the wrong thing," he said. "I'm glad to get the result I did."
The final penalty was in keeping with the recommendation from prosecutor Gleeson.
As a result of the incident Melbourne has pledged all of its players will undergo a briefing from the club doctor on the potential dangers of acts such as Howe's involving the transfer of blood.