YOU would think a leading AFL coach would know better than to swear at a football official ... at a very junior game, no less.
But Hawthorn’s Alistair Clarkson did just that last weekend. The premiership coach has now been cited to answer to officials for his brain-freeze.
Clarkson, who was acting as a runner during his son’s under-9s game in the South Metro Junior Football League, will have to appear before a junior football league tribunal within the next week for swearing at an umpire’s adviser.
Clarkson told Hawthorn he was trying to reorganise the players when both teams began to kick to the same end. After repeatedly trying to explain the situation to the official, he was sent from the ground, but admitted to using expletives towards the official.
He has been charged with “unacceptable behaviour” towards an umpire’s adviser after the Hawthorn coach was asked to stop coaching the Ormond Junior Football Club team on the ground, which breaches league rules.
Hawthorn officials have since claimed they believed no junior players heard Clarkson’s insulting language, but that should not even come into consideration when the premiership coach faces the tribunal. While Clarkson has since apologised to the football official, his unacceptable behaviour should never have happened, particularly when you consider he is at the highest echelon of the game.
Not only must Clarkson set an example for his charges at the Hawthorn Football Club, but surely one of his biggest priorities would be to act as a good role model for his young son and fellow under-9 players.
Parents of junior competitors involved in any sport should always be respectful of game officials, whether they agree with their decisions or not. This, in turn will set a good example for their children and create a snowball effect throughout the generations.
Hopefully, the South Metro Junior Football League will use the Clarkson case as an example to demonstrate that those even at the highest level of sporting achievement are not immune from facing the consequences of their actions.