The Richmond Tigers have reportedly responded to widespread speculation surrounding a fresh dressing room controversy.
Tigers defender Nick Vlastuin was spotted by AFL commentators on Thursday night appearing to make an intriguing mimicked action towards his wrists as he and teammates sang the team song following their win over the West Coast on the Gold Coast.
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Vlastuin’s strange celebration caused teammate Jack Riewoldt to change his facial expression in the middle of the song, leading to unsubstantiated speculation Vlastuin was pretending to inject a substance into his skin.
The AFL confirmed it had been made aware of the vision.
However, the controversy was quickly put to rest when the Tigers responded to the videos of Vlastuin circulating on social media.
ABC reporter Clinton Wheeldon posted on Twitter the Tigers have claimed Vlastuin’s celebration was simply mimicking the act of opening a bottle of wine.
“The Tigers say Nick was imitating opening a bottle of wine as a celebration,” he posted on Twitter.
According to reports, the bottle of wine opening motion was an inside joke within the locker room.
Channel 7’s Tom Browne posted on Twitter: “I checked with the club earlier. Nothing dodgy in it. He is pouring wine apparently”.
In a month of controversies for the Tigers defender, Vlastuin was this week the victim of a disgusting series of social media attacks on his Instagram page.
Vlastuin, teammate Dylan Grimes and fellow AFL footballers went public to call out the abuse.
Led by Grimes after he was accused of staging for a free kick in the Tigers’ Dreamtime win over Essendon in Darwin on Saturday night, players named and shamed disgusting trolls who have abused them on Instagram.
Vlastuin also revealed some of the abuse he received, including a message that called him a “f***ing fairy”.
“Few nice messages after the game … good for the mental health,” he wrote alongside screenshots on his Instagram page.
Vlastuin was earlier this month embroiled in Richmond’s first dressing room celebration which resulted in a series of public apologies to Tigers star Mabior Chol.
Jayden Short and Vlastuin were spotted inappropriately grabbing teammate Chol’s genitals in footage from two separate wins
During the two incidents, both Short and Vlastuin are alleged to have grabbed the genitals of Chol on numerous occasions.
Vlastuin also appeared to have pretended to have put his finger up the anus of his teammate on the outside of his shorts.
The two Richmond players released statements of apology.
“It was a stupid action and I am deeply embarrassed. I’ve apologised to Mabior,” Vlastuin said.
Short said: “It was unacceptable behaviour and a poor example”.