The AFL and its broadcasting partners are reviewing the practice of airing audio captured by on-field microphones during play after an incident on Saturday night in which Greater Western Sydney's Heath Shaw was heard to make an offensive remark.
Shaw was heard to have called Sydney's Tom Papley a 'fucking retard' by an umpire's microphone during live play, prompting immediate apologies from commentator Jason Dunstall during the FOX Footy broadcast, and an apology from Shaw today.
The incident has prompted FOX Footy and Channel 7 to review their practices of broadcasting, without filter, the remarks of aggressive, combative and competitive males who are in the midst of playing a contact sport with frequent head contact who have grown up with an interrupted education.
"It was quite a shock," said Dunstall to Australian Sports Weakly.
"We never thought that permanently monitoring the conversations between AFL players would uncover such ignorance. I remember back in my day the worst any players ever said to each other was 'your breath stinks' or 'I don't agree with your views on social reform'.
"If an Australian Rules football field isn't a place for engaging, informed and inclusive discussion then I don't know where is."
Former Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney told FOX Footy's Game Day Live that he was disappointed in the sledge but that it was in "the heat of battle".
“(I’m) not too sure I want to chastise him too heavily on this one, because we’ve all said it," said Cooney, speaking authoritatively for everyone.
"We all say things in the heat of the battle, but it is disappointing to hear," he continued, referring to the fact that when football players are being paid to play a game of football, which is their job, it sometimes forces them against their will to be racist, bigoted, insulting to minorities and unsympathetic to those less fortunate.
Paul Roos called for the scrapping of on-field microphones when speaking with Triple M.
“People will say, and I won’t disagree with it, that they’re (the players) getting paid a lot of money but I think we still need to work out where that line gets crossed where they should be able to perform their duty without any outside interference," said Roos, genuinely.
"...and sometimes it's necessary in the performance of that duty to offend the disabled, racial minorities or sexual orientations, and that's football," said Roos, subtextually.
Heath Shaw is expected to frown for a while nothing changes.