Mo and Mick lock horns over ‘degrading’ AFLW comments
MICK Malthouse has labelled Moana Hope "unprofessional" for walking out on a football club speaking function after being offended at his "degrading" comments.
The AFLW star said she would never be in the same room as Malthouse again after he said AFL was a "man's game" and women should not play under the same rules because of a high rate of injuries.
Hope was on a panel with Malthouse and Jason Akermanis in Ballarat for a lunch at Mars Stadium.
Hope, a former Collingwood and now North Melbourne AFLW player, said she was "disgusted" with Malthouse's comments.
"He said that AFL was a man's game and not a woman's game and he's said that on stage in front of 50 kids who had just played a boys and girls game of football," she told the Herald Sun this afternoon.
Malthouse added that women should play a modified game without tackling to reduce the amount of knee injuries.
But she said that she dropped her microphone and walked out after Malthouse said that if the AFL went to an 18m goal square all the players should "wear skirts."
"I left after that I was so disgusted and drove back to Melbourne. He can have an opinion but then there's just degrading and disrespectful comments," she said.
But Malthouse said he was making a point about the rules of women's football, not being sexist.
"Mo Hope was unprofessional, totally unprofessional," Malthouse said.
"Why would someone walk out? Half the time she was looking at her watch and the other half she was looking at her phone.
"I make no apologies for having an opinion about women's football. If Mo Hope hadn't been looking at her phone or watch she might have listened to what I said in context instead of interpreting something she half heard."
He said he had been receiving text messages of support from people in the crowd.
"God help us if we stop having an opinion; there's a difference between my opinion on women's football and the rule changes," he said.
Former footy star Jason Akermanis, who was sitting between Hope and Malthouse, weighed in on the dispute. He said Malthouse's comments "should be taken with a grain of salt".
Akermanis said he tried to keep everyone calm and lighten the mood after tensions flared and Hope walked out.
The former Brownlow medallist said and he tried to remain neutral.
"Obviously Mo has a credible understanding of the women's game … as a marquee player," he sai.
But Akermanis said he believed Hope was likely "a little raw" and not used to being confronted with different opinions.
"I think Mo is perhaps not used to dealing with other people's points of view," he said.
Akermanis said Malthouse's point of view was a fair assessment but that he didn't necessarily "agree with everything he was saying".
A witness in the room said that people were "shocked" Hope walked out.
"It looked like she didn't want to be there, she didn't smile once and was defensive right from the start and was checking her watch," the witness said.
"He didn't belittle her in any way. He was having a go at the way the AFL ran the AFLW and said that he was worried about the injuries of female footballers."
Hope said of Malthouse's comments: "We're in 2018, not in 1942. I've been told he was an amazing coach but I don't think he's much as a person.
"I will never be in the same room as him again.
"I woke up at 5am this morning and rode 20km in preparation for next season. I'm working my backside off for AFLW."
The witness in the room had said that Malthouse did not mean to cause offence.
They said Hope had taken offence to his comments criticising the AFL's plans for zones of six players next year.
"He said there's already a game that looks like that and they wear skirts and it's called netball," the source said.
And he said that he was concerned about the high rate of injuries in women's football, and argued that it needed to be modified to protect the players, the source added.
Hope's partner Isabella Carlstrom posted a picture of Malthouse on social media with the caption: "How can this man be paid to attend a function and put women down so badly that @moanahope puts the mic down and walks out of a room full of people. Degrading women of the AFLW #disgusting," she wrote.
"I cannot believe what this disgrace of a man said while on stage in front of so many young kids and my partner."