Dustin Martin’s drunken incident is the subject of an AFL and Richmond investigation and has become a public relations debacle for the Tigers.
Club chief executive Brendon Gale belatedly issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon, calling it a very serious matter and adding they are extremely disappointed in Martin.
That followed a call earlier in the day from Richmond legend Kevin Bartlett for the Tigers to throw the book at the midfielder.
Bartlett wants Martin banned for 12 months and to pay $50,000 to an appropriate woman’s organisation.
He slammed Richmond’s initial response on Monday to the controversy as pathetic.
Gale’s statement was much stronger than the initial club confirmation on Monday, where they said Martin had apologised to the woman for the Saturday night incident.
Martin also confirmed he was drunk at the time.
Richmond football manager Dan Richardson had also described the incident on Monday as “a bit of a hiccup”.
The woman, identified only as Tracey, said Martin threatened to stab her in the face with a chopstick.
He was eventually asked to leave the Mr Miyagi restaurant on Chapel St.
Video has also emerged, which Channel Nine said shows a man trying to drag Martin away from an argument inside the restaurant.
“This is a very serious matter that requires a thorough investigation and we are working with the AFL to ensure we have all the facts before us,” Gale said in Tuesday’s statement.
“I want to be clear that any threat of physical violence against a woman – or any member of the public for that matter – is completely unacceptable.
“Dustin is disappointed in his behaviour and we are incredibly disappointed in Dustin.”
He repeated the club’s comment on Monday that they expect to make a decision later this week on what action they will take over the incident.
Bartlett, who played 403 games for the Tigers and coached the club, was scathing on Tuesday morning in his SEN radio show.
“Not one word that violence against women is totally unacceptable – and this is at an AFL club that has the first and only female president (Peggy O’Neal),” Bartlett said of Richmond’s Monday response.
“This is not player No.42 on the club list – this is arguably their best player.”
Bartlett also noted that the AFL and its clubs strongly support the campaign to end violence against women.
“It’s hard to imagine a more serious allegation,” he said.
“A 12-month suspension and a $50,000 donation to an appropriate women’s organisation seems a realistic and fair conclusion for the club, the AFL and the image of the game.”
The AFL also confirmed in a brief statement on Tuesday afternoon that it was working with Richmond over the incident.