‘I’d take a pay cut’: Dogs back Wood’s gambling stance
With the issue of gambling in the AFL coming to a head, Western Bulldogs captain Easton Wood says he's ready to put his money where his mouth is in a bid to reduce its impact.
Wood last night said he would take a pay cut if it meant the AFL shifted away from taking sponsorship dollars from gambling companies.
The Bulldogs skipper has been an outspoken critic of the oversaturation of gambling in the game and says, as an AFLPA board member, he will be raising the issue with players in the lead up to the 2021 collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
Bveridge said Wood's preparedness to sacrifice his own pay spoke to his integrity.
"That's a strong message," the Western Bulldogs coach said.
"It's a real issue in our game. It's a real issue in society.
"If Easton feels that strongly, then I support him in his opinion and the club supports him in his opinion.
"But there's a lot of discussion that continues and will need to continue to take place."
Wood wants a shift in the type of companies that are permitted to partner with the competition's next broadcasters.
"It's a difficult question (to take less money to shift away from gambling sponsorship)," Wood said on Fox Footy's On The Mark.
"I think I'd have to personally, speaking for myself as a man, I'd say yes, I'd happily take less.
"Philosophically if that's what it's going to take to do the right thing and do what's best for the code and kids coming through, then yes.
"But whether or not the AFL playing cohort, whether that's their opinion, I'm not sure if it is.
"That would be a difficult one and it's a conversation to have and definitely something I'll be raising."
While there is no suggestion Collingwood star Jaidyn Stephenson is a problem gambler, he was last week slapped with the biggest individual gambling ban in AFL history after he was found to have bet on three Collingwood games.
Its brought the issue to a head, with many groups both within and outside the AFL calling for change - the league has a reported $10 million-a-year sponsorship deal with online bookmaker Beteasy.
Melbourne star Max Gawn says he believed he was targeted by gambling companies.
"Seventeen-year-old Max was someone who was super excited to get his licence, to go clubbing, to have a drink legally and to gamble legally," Gawn said.
"It's something that you look forward to when you're 18, so that, mixed with the income you get straight away - I was 17 when I got drafted … I was working at Domino's pizza before that, one shift a week getting 100 bucks a week.
"I remember when I downloaded my first app, I had six emails from different betting companies all trying to get me on VIP lists.
"It's just catch to try and bring you in, they know exactly the name … he's a footballer or sportsperson or a celebrity or someone high up whose got money, whose got spare time, let's get him on the list, let's get his books."
Geelong coach Chris Scott said the club prioritised education of its players about the risks involved with gambling.
"We'd like to create an environment where (we) provide as much education as possible, especially around the way the gambling agencies use advertising and they use various enticements to bring players in," Scott said on SEN.
"We think the best way to help them is to get them to understand exactly what they're up against.
"I don't think that AFL problem gambling is particularly linked to gambling advertising on TV and within sporting events.
"I think that's a much bigger problem as it relates to the next generation of gamblers.
"I don't think it's a good thing at all that 10 and 12 year old kids can quote the odds of games. But again, it's a very complex issue and it's a big issue."
Beveridge added: "We just need to make sure we keep educating our young players on the risk that gambling actually provides."
Carlton AFLW star Darcy Vescio said gambling had become too "normal".
"Whenever you switch on the TV, there's gambling ads," Vescio said.
"(Fans) don't talk about who they want to win because they support that team, they talk about who's got the greatest odds.
"They want certain outcomes in games that they have no control over because they get money from that and I know I'm not the target of gambling companies - when I see ads on TV, I don't see myself in those ads."