AFL legend Garry Lyon blows up over Charlie Cameron tribunal ruling

Garry Lyon has taken a rare swipe at AFL figures over the shock tribunal verdict that has cleared Charlie Cameron to play this weekend.

Cameron’s Tuesday night tribunal case has left commentators staggered after the star forward escaped suspension over his sling tackle on Melbourne defender Jake Lever.

Cameron dumped Lever to the ground in a tackle during the Lions’ Round 5 win at the MCG.

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AFL Match Review Officer Michael Christian charged Cameron with careless conduct, medium impact and high contact and offered a one-match ban with an early guilty plea.

The Lions earlier announced they would fight the grading of the charge, while pleading guilty to the contact made.

Footy commentators were baffled when Tuesday night’s hearing ended with Cameron’s punishment being reduced to a fine on the grounds of “exceptional or compelling circumstances” where his “exemplary record and character” was listed as a critical factor in the tribunal panel’s decision.

The detail that has caused the most uproar is tribunal chair Jeff Gleeson’s decision to allow the Lions to present character references surrounding Cameron’s off-field community work.

Indigenous AFL great Eddie Betts and Indigenous elder Gregory Egert submitted references that supported the Lions’ case in arguing his good character should be considered.

Cameron has never been suspended in his 207 career games though he has been fined five times, including three times for rough conduct.

Brisbane’s legal rep Adrian Anderson pushed hard for Cameron’s character to be a critical factor in the case and said just 0.5 per cent of AFL players get to 200 games and around half of them had been suspended for at least one game during that time.

The tribunal’s decision to downplay the significance of Cameron’s five previous offences left Lyon staggered when he addressed the drama on SEN radio on Wednesday morning.

“C’mon that’s a joke,” Lyon said about Cameron’s judiciary record.

“I didn’t like it because of the climate we’re in. The concussion climate. The day that Nathan Murphy has medically retired. Then it comes to light he (Cameron) has been fined five times.

“And now you’re telling me that three of them are for this similar thing, rough conduct? That’s a joke. C’mon that’s a joke. C’mon Jeff. Wake up Jeff.”

Lyon said Brisbane had got away with a “furphy” in getting the panel to overlook his five previous offences.

“So (they’re) trying to argue it down from medium to low (impact) like everyone else does. It’s bull shizen, total bull shizen,” he said.

Lyon went on to say: “For me, the exemplary record is a furphy. That’s a furphy from Jeff.

“Let’s be clear on this, the issue with Charlie Cameron is you can go and argue that it was low impact, knock yourselves out on that, I don’t have a problem with that. If that’s how you get yourself off then do that.

“Don’t get yourself off on a good record when you’ve been fined five times and three times for the same thing, that’s my point.

“That’s not exemplary behaviour. That’s called a recidivist.”

AFl commentators on Tuesday night were just as surprised.

“I’m stunned,” AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson said after the verdict was announced.

“This has opened up avenues for a lot of people to argue.”

The Herald Sun’s Jay Clark said the league has opened up “Pandora’s box”.

“Every player now… will be spitting out their record and saying, ‘You know, I’ve done this, I’ve done that, I’ve never been suspended’,” he said on Fox Footy.

“So he’s played 207 games. Where’s the cut off now? It opens up Pandora’s box and the opportunity for more inconsistencies.”

Leading footy reporter Jon Ralph responded by saying: “We’re looking for consistency and it’s been thrown out the window”.

Former Geelong star Josh Jenkins was among those to question the decision.