‘Not acceptable’: Hunter’s ban revealed
AFL star Lachie Hunter has been handed a four-match suspension and fined $5000 by the Western Bulldogs after Thursday's drink-driving incident in Middle Park, Victoria.
Hunter was behind the wheel during an accident involving four parked cars and later returned a blood-alcohol reading of 0.123, over two times the legal limit. The damage bill is reportedly around the $150,000 mark.
A Bulldogs investigation found Hunter's driving had been "adversely affected" by alcohol consumption. It was also revealed two of the parked vehicles involved belonged to the family of teammate Bailey Smith's girlfriend, which is believed to be "entirely coincidental".
After the accident, Smith reportedly drove Hunter to the home of teammate Billy Gowers, who has also copped a $5000 fine from the Bulldogs for his involvement. Smith, meanwhile, was found to have been in breach of the coronavirus restrictions, and was fined $1652 by police.
Hunter had his license suspended for 12 months following the incident.
The Bulldogs also relinquished Hunter of his vice-captaincy after he voluntarily stepped down from the leadership position.
Along with taking mandatory alcohol education and community service, Hunter was handed an additional $15,000 worth of fines for "multiple other breaches".
Hunter released a video statement on Tuesday, apologising for the incident and admitting he "should've been at home".
"I'd like to express my deepest apologies and regret for my actions last Thursday night," Hunter said.
"I'm here to take full responsibility for what I did and the damages that I caused.
"It's never responsible to get behind the wheel after you've had a drink. Drink-driving is clearly not acceptable and a real scare for what could've been with some drink-driving victims.
"I let down a lot of people here, my fiancee and my family first. The leadership group and the club, my teammates, Billy and Bailey for dragging them into a situation they should never have been in, and the wider community who are going through a really hard time with the COVID-19.
"Clearly, I should've been at home.
"I've obviously lost the respect of a lot of people over this time. There's not a lot I can do about that right now. I can control what I can do from here, so I'll accept the sanctions given to me by the club today.
"It's obviously going to hurt a lot watching my teammates run out without me there, and knowing I caused that myself.
"I'll have that date circled in my calendar when I'm allowed to get back out there with my teammates, and hopefully over time rebuild some of that trust."
Bulldogs CEO Ameet Bains also delivered a statement on Tuesday, condemning Hunter for his actions and failing to live up to the club's behavioural expectations.
"The club is extremely disappointed by a number of elements of Lachie's conduct both in his choice to drink alcohol, choice to drink and drive, choice to ignore social distancing laws and a series of other choices he made in the aftermath of the crash," Baines said.
"We are extremely disappointed that, when the accident occurred, he did not choose to avail himself of the support and advice services the club provides to our players for just such situations and we believe a number of his subsequent poor choices flowed directly from that error.
"While there are clearly pressures that many people face given the current circumstances, including Lachie, that is no excuse for his behaviour. Lachie's behaviour put himself and others at risk and is not acceptable.
"I want to again make it clear that there is no excuse for the choices he made. We are very thankful that nobody was physically harmed in the incident. Lachie has failed to live up to his responsibilities as a member of the community and from what we expect from a leader of our football club."
Hunter has played 128 AFL games for the Bulldogs since making his debut in 2013. He was also awarded the Charles Sutton Medal in 2018.
Originally published as 'Not acceptable': Hunter's ban revealed