by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Shortly before the NAB Cup began, promising small forward Albert Proud had his contract with Brisbane terminated. The club stated he had failed to meet the behavioral standards of an AFL player. Proud, who was arrested for striking a police officer last month, was suspended by the club at the start of 2010 for another off field incident. After the latest incident, he was suspended indefinitely and then told that his contract was terminated.
General Manager Dean Warren said the club was seeking to build a strong culture to benefit all the players and could not have those standards and expectations compromised. He further stated the club would support Proud as he adjusted to life after football. Proud was drafted by the Lions in 2006. He was delisted at the end of 2010 but redrafted as a rookie and played seven games for a total of 29.
One week later, troubled forward Brendan Fevola had his contract terminated by the Lions. The decision was made at a special club board meeting on Monday, February 21. Fevola was in a rehab facility for nearly two months. He has been treated for depression, his gambling addiction and drinking problems.
The club issued a statement saying Fevola was terminated for engaging "... in serious or wilful misconduct through persistent breaches of his obligations as a player to the Club. The Club has ... lost confidence in his ability to meet his obligations ... due to these persistent breaches".
The club has also stated they will continue to support Fevola. They have offered a him a $1 million payout which is less than what his contract is worth. They have also pledged to provide support for him during his treatment and as he makes the transition out of football. It is unlikely that Fevola, who turned 30 last month, will be offered a contract by another club. Club officials will meet with Fevola's management, Velocity Sports, to make final arrangements. In an ironic twist, the General Manager of Velocity Sports is former Lion forward Alistair Lynch.
Lynch, in a statement released by Velocity, said Fevola "was shattered" by the news and only wanted to get back to playing to make amends for letting down the club and his teammates. According to Lynch, Fevola felt ready to take the next step of returning to playing after his rehab stint and was willing to return to the club under any imposed conditions and even see out the season in the reserves. Fevola made the offer to Coach Michael Voss at a meeting between himself, Lynch and Brisbane officials. He hoped to return to senior football in 2012.
With football no longer an option, Fevola will consider his future. Lynch expressed disappointment at not being told all the details of the termination but more details were forthcoming the next day with the revelation that there had been several alcohol fueled incidents in China last year and Fevola had also missed a team meeting. The first priority for Lynch and Velocity is Fevola's continued treatment and return to good health.
Source: DavId Donaghy & Kate Stevens, Brisbane Media Release; Ben Hart, AFLPA Media Release, SEN.com.au
Article last changed on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 8:39 PM EDT