MELBOURNE // The Australian Rules footballer Clinton Jones has apologised for setting fire to a dwarf entertainer’s clothes during his club’s “Mad Monday” celebrations, the St Kilda Saints said on Tuesday.
“Mad Monday” is a traditional end-of-season day of celebration for Australian athletes, often involving heavy consumption of alcohol and sometimes leading to damaged reputations for teams and leagues.
St Kilda, whose season ended on Sunday, hired two dwarf entertainers for their celebration at a Melbourne pub. Jones set alight the clothes of one of them, Blake Johnston, according to Arthur Serevetas, one of the entertainers.
“A player went behind my friend with one of those gas lighters that you light up a stove and basically lit him up,” Serevetas said. “Part of his shirt and pants caught on fire. After that someone put it out and he got ticked off and we basically left.”
Jones was fined A$3,000 (Dh9,900) and has offered “his sincere apologies” to Johnston, who performs under the name “Mr Big”, for his “inadvertent” action, St Kilda said in a statement.
“As a playing group we were engaged in end-of-season activities which in hindsight were quite childish,” Jones said. “I made an error of judgement in including Mr Johnston in the activity.”
The AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou apologised for laughing when confronted with the story on a TV show. “When this was brought up, I just thought it was incredulous to think that this could possibly be,” he said. “After I found out that it was true, it’s just reprehensible. I was flabbergasted.”