West Coast Eagles soccer player Andrew Gaff was suspended for eight games by the Australian Football League after shattering the jaw of 18-year-old Fremantle Dockers player Andrew Brayshaw on Aug. 5.
Brayshaw will be unable to eat solid food for four weeks, notes RT.com.
After an Australian Football League hearing, Graff apologized to Brayshaw and added, “I’m suffering”:
First of all I just want to say that I’m so, so sorry to Andrew and the Brayshaw family for the pain that I’ve caused them over the past 48 hours.
I respect the Brayshaw boys so much and the way they go about it. I’m really disappointed. I own my actions, and it really hurts a lot.
The last 48 hours have probably been the toughest couple of days of my life… the people that I’ve spoken to and who have seen me in that time know the world of pain I’m in and how much I’m suffering.
I see myself as a caring, gentle and measured person and that’s why it’s disappointing so much more. I’m disappointed for Andrew, I’m disappointed in myself,
I’m disappointed I let my teammates down at an important time of the year and I’m disappointed I’ve let the supporters down as well.
Gaff has faced calls for criminal prosecution.
Western Australia state police commissioner Chris Dawson said that the force would assess the incident:
We will make an assessment on this incident as we would with other matters of public interest, and we would encourage any parties directly connected and concerned with this matter to contact WA Police Force.
No one likes to see hits like that in competitive sport. It is rare for police to lay criminal charges as a result of an incident in a professional competitive sporting event.
Physical contact on the footy field is expected. The central issue here is what should be governed by the sporting code and what falls within the criminal realm.