The player and club have resisted wording that suggested sexual misconduct or harassment, with Port chairman David Koch voicing his concern about the AFLs process and a number of lawyers called in – including the AFL Players Associations.
Powell-Pepper was accused by the young woman of inappropriately touching her when he was drunk following the clubs third-round victory over Brisbane. The player and club position, however, is that while there is footage of this incident on the Adelaide night spots CCTV, it is not conclusive.
The AFL, clearly, believes there is sufficient evidence for the charge to be sustained, its integrity unit having interviewed the woman, Powell-Pepper and others who were present on that Saturday evening. The woman did not take the matter to the police. The Powell-Pepper incident is a kind of test case for the AFLs revised respect and responsibility policy – under which the AFL can discipline players and officials for mistreatment of women and is designed to improve behaviours, but is complicated by the legal rights of the player and the potential for police involvement.
Richmonds Nathan Broad was investigated by the AFL and suspended for three matches for distributing a topless photograph of a woman – which found a wide audience on the internet – after the grand final in another respect and responsibility case that dragged on.