‘Enormously challenging’: Compromising footage of AFL players a blackmail risk
Updated February 20, 2023 — 6.43pmfirst published at 9.00am
A sports integrity expert says footage of professional athletes involved in compromising behaviour puts them at risk of blackmail and extortion as Collingwood forward Jack Ginnivan became the latest AFL player to be caught on camera with illicit drugs.
Sports lawyer Catherine Ordway, an associate professor at the University of Canberra, said athletes dealing with addiction or behavioural issues were particularly vulnerable when it comes to blackmail because of the ease of recording them on mobile phones and distributing material on social media.
“It means the sport and the athlete can’t have any control over that because social media has allowed these platforms and people to have direct access to putting them in the public realm,” Ordway said.
“This is enormously challenging for the sports to deal with and athletes with particular vulnerabilities whether it be alcoholism, drug addictions, gambling addictions, if they have violent tendencies, anger management issues, all those things, put them in a position to be exploited.”
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Ordway said while digital technology had increased opportunities for blackmail, the consequences for criminals remained high.
“It’s a growing risk because it’s so easy. But the penalties are high ... there will be traceable elements and the police can investigate that and prosecute it,” she said.