Police are investigating a Richmond star at the centre of a topless photo scandal after explicit images showing a young woman wearing his AFL premiership medal emerged on social media.
The photo does not identify the woman’s face or the Richmond player to which the medal belongs. Richmond confirmed the AFL integrity unit was also investigating the photo.
A second photograph has also emerged with a woman standing with her back to the camera next to a wall with the Richmond logo on it.
The AFL integrity unit is not probing the second image.
Fairfax Media understands the AFL is providing support to the woman and her family.
It is believed the photo was taken last Saturday night – the night of Richmond’s historic premiership win – and was being circulated on social media by the next morning.
As well as being circulated among the players, the photo was posted to Richmond fan pages on social media.
The woman claims the images of her topless were circulated online and through text messages without her permission or knowledge. Fairfax Media has decided not to run the images.
Representatives of the woman initially took their complaint to the club. Richmond then referred the woman’s representatives onto the AFL who then began dealing with the matter.
Victoria Police have confirmed an investigation into the incident is under way.
“Yarra Crime Investigation Unit detectives are investigating an image distributed on social media,” the statement said.
“The image was posted without consent. As the investigation is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Richmond president Peggy O’Neal, the league’s first female club president, confirmed she was aware of the photo.
“I’m just not across the facts,” she told ABC’s Q&A on Monday night.
“It’s just been brought to my attention very recently within the last few hours but I understand that something’s going on.”
An audience member pressed Ms O’Neal further on the alleged involvement of one of Richmond’s premiership players, and whether or not the action to circulate the photo was in line with the AFL’s Respect and Responsibility Policy.
“If it turns out that it is disrespectful to women we certainly don’t stand for that, that’s not what our club’s about and if someone has made a disrespectful and humiliating gesture then of course it will be taken into account,” Ms O’Neal said.
“That isn’t what we’re about, it isn’t what the AFL’s about, I think that our club has shown its for equality, for its inclusiveness, and it wants to promote women.”
It’s not the first time the policy has been brought into question this year, after two AFL officials were sacked for having affairs with younger women.
The AFL said it would not comment on the matter because it is under police investigation.