The AFL community reacted with disgust after former Adelaide footballer Eddie Betts posted a confronting recollection of his experience at a pre-season camp with the Crows in early 2018.
The leadership camp, following the Crows’ 2017 AFL Grand Final loss to Richmond, thrust the club into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
A number of players and officials left the club following the camp, and now Betts has in-depth behind-the-scenes info in his next autobiography Boomerang Crescent Boy.
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The four-day camp on the Gold Coast left Betts feeling ‘like a piece of me had been brainwashed’, with excerpts reported by Nine newspapers.
Betts alleged that confidential information he shared during counseling sessions had been misused, writing that the camp had appropriated sensitive Indigenous cultural rituals.
After the ordeal, the three-time All-Australian Betts said he approached the Crows and expressed concerns about the camp, only to be dropped from the leadership group three weeks later.
Betts said camp had a bigger impact on his form and left the star striker questioning his place in the game. I left the Crows and returned to the Carlton at the end of 2019 before retiring at the end of 2021.
Adelaide board member Mark Ricciuto, who represented the club for 15 seasons, responded to the damning allegations on Wednesday morning.
“He was one of the greatest at the club,” Ricciuto said in Adelaide. Triple M breakfast with Roo, Ditts and Loz.
“Player welfare is always number one, no matter what happens, you always want everyone to be happy, so that’s very sad.
“I think the club has at times said publicly that they recognize it hasn’t been handled perfectly. It had all the right intentions but it didn’t go perfectly.
“We all love Eddie and I hope Eddie gets over it…the club have certainly moved on and are looking to the future and have come a long way since then. It appeared in Eddie’s book and that’s fair enough.
Betts’ revelations have angered the football community. Former Swans star Ryan Fitzgerald, who is a huge Crows fan, tweeted: “Really uncomfortable to read. Especially the insensibilities around Eddie’s past. He is such an integral part of the AFC and its history, so discouraged that he left feeling like this.
Former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon also reacted. “When you read those words from Eddie, there’s no debating how it affected him,” he said. No breakfast.
“He’s talking about Indigenous players, cultural differences or sensitivities that haven’t been respected. It’s Eddie…and that’s unequivocal, isn’t it? You can’t argue with all that.
“Everyone’s own experiences were taken into this and from an Indigenous perspective, a lot of Eddie said cultural sensitivities weren’t being respected — and that’s very, very real.
“In the end, it was untenable. We’re talking about the vibe and the environment…separate who you agree with and who you disagree with, the fact is that it splits the club in two. When you have the (Rory) Sloanes and the (Taylor) Walkers, who have their memory, and then you have Eddie and others, I guess… no wonder it destroyed that joint.
“You have a section of the football club – and I’m not just putting that at the feet of Walker and Sloane, there may be others in the same boat – saying, ‘I got so much out of this , it was good’. And then on the other side, just at the other end of the scale, you have, ‘No, it tore me apart, it tore my relationship apart’.
“No wonder then from a football club perspective and trying to stay together and on the same page, it ended up where it was.
“If you’re told, whether you’re black or white or whatever, ‘These people at camp want to talk to you and they’re saying get away from everyone in private and we want you to have a conversation where you’re open and vulnerable ‘ … And I say, ‘OK. In terms of building me up as a better player and a leader, I’ll share and give you these really sensitive things that to me are important.’ , it is not cultural for me.
“How it affects me and someone else may be different depending on the culture, but it’s a betrayal to me.”
speaking on SEN SA breakfastformer Port Adelaide star Kane Cornes has questioned Adelaide’s leadership, calling out Crows star Rory Sloane for his public remarks after camp when he said it made him a better husband and a best father.
“The question is, all the people who stood up for the side and said nothing happened, including the Crows fans, including Mark Ricciuto, including the club, what are they doing now? Details came out, Eddie Betts was abused about his mother,” Cornes said.
“The saddest thing for me, the two most popular players in Adelaide are Tony Modra and Eddie Betts. No one has lifted the Ring of Adelaide when they approached football in Crows history like Eddie Betts No one has been more popular.
“That’s the echelon Eddie Betts is being held in. Reading how he was treated by his own football club, of which he is an icon, was the saddest thing for me.
“We now have a blow-by-blow tale which is heartbreaking enough that your most popular player in club history was treated like an animal on this pitch.
“I think it’s embarrassing for Rory Sloane and Taylor Walker to hear now that it was a repeated line and they’ve all been told and brainwashed to say it made them a better father, husband and And seeing Eddie Betts relaying that it’s been repeated doesn’t paint Rory and his leadership in a very clear light.
“There’s a lot of egg on the faces of the Crows supporters, the foot club and some of the players who were there.”
The Crows have been cleared of any occupational health and safety violations after an independent investigation into the boot camp by SafeWork SA.
Originally published as AFL world reacts to Eddie Betts pre-season camp accusations as Crows respond