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Ox says ‘you can be Pablo Escobar in the AFL’ and not be punished as harshly as Stephenson

Former Melbourne Demons star David ‘Ox’ Schwarz, himself a reformed problem gambler, says the punishment handed down to Collingwood’s Jaidyn Stephenson is “far too excessive,”

Stephenson was handed a 22-match suspension, 12 weeks wholly suspended, and a $20,000 fine after placing $36 worth of multi-bets on Collingwood matches he was playing in.

It’s the toughest wagering related penalty ever handed down by the AFL.

“I’ll get howled down for it, and I understand about the integrity of it, I’ve been through a million of these courses and I understand the ramifications of when players bet on sport, but when you isolate it and look at it compared other penalties that have been handed down over the journey, come on, let’s think about this,” Ox tells James Willis on Halftime.

“You can be Pablo Escobar in the AFL, you could be doing drugs every second weekend and you can self-report and nothing will ever happen,

“This kid has had three $12 bets – allegedly – and he is now going to miss a year of footy.”

The Ox highlights the chasm between sanctions issued to players who test positive for illicit substances compared to those handed down to those who break betting rules.

“I get really annoyed when they talk about mental health issues and say these poor kids who do drugs and they’ve got mental health, well, if a player has mental health and he’s got a gambling problem, it doesn’t matter, you blow him into smithereens because it’s gambling and not substance abuse

“I think there are double standards at play here and I think the penalty is far too excessive,

“I am blown away that a player would get a year for this,” he said.

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