The Herald Sun reports that the AFL considered Cleary primarily as an employee of the company, overriding his duties as a journalist. The AFL directly ordered that Cleary be stood down, according to the report.
Brooke Cotchin is the wife of Richmond captain Trent Cotchin. She joined her husband in an AFL quarantine bubble but exposed herself as having breached its protocols, by posting an Instagram story of her getting a facial at the Essence day spa.
Cleary was the first print/online journalist to reveal Brooke Cotchin’s Instagram post to the public on Friday, after it had already been referenced in radio reports. The Instagram story was deleted from her social media account shortly after it was posted.
Veteran AFL reporter Caroline Wilson was the first journalist to identity Brooke Cotchin as the individual behind Richmond’s COVID-19 breach when she broke the news last Thursday on 3AW.
The AFL’s apparent decision to stand Cleary down was met with an uproar on social media from fellow reporters. The AFL and Cleary are yet to comment.
Five clubs over the weekend were hit with hefty fines following separate incidents of COVID-19 breaches within the AFL’s Queensland hub.
Hawthorn was hit with a $50,000 fine ($25,000 suspended for the remainder of the season), while Carlton, North Melbourne and Richmond accepted $45,000 fines ($25,000 suspended for the remainder of the season).