An angry restaurant has fired back at the Melbourne Demons for their “weak” response after two AFL stars started fighting at dinner.
Steven May has apologised after he was given a one-game suspension by his own club after a “scuffle” with Melbourne teammate Jake Melksham while he was drinking while under the AFL’s concussion protocols.
The Demons released a statement on Tuesday confirming May and Melksham were involved in an alternation at around 9pm on Sunday after having dinner at Melbourne restaurant Entrecote.
Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
The Herald Sun reported May told Melksham: “If you had have played in the granny (grand final) we would have lost.”
“It is claimed that Melksham then “floored” 190cm May with one punch in retaliation,” the report said.
Melksham was an emergency in last year’s Grand Final, which Melbourne by 74 points over the Western Bulldogs.
Entrecote claims May and Melksham broke the venue’s reception desk during the altercation.
The restaurant told foxfooty.com.au the incident was “far from a scuffle”, taking aim at the “weak apology” of the Dees that amounted to a ‘boys will be boys” excuse.
Earlier, the venue posted on its Instagram story: “BUT STILL NO APOLOGY TO MY STAFF OR THE RESTAURANT … disgraceful effort @stevenmay @melbournefc.”
The page later shared a post which read “Thanks for your lukewarm apology that is tantamount to ‘boys will be boys’.”
In a video on Melbourne’s club website, May apologised for his behaviour.
“Just extremely disappointed. I know I’ve let a lot of people down, especially myself and the footy club, through uncharacteristic actions,” he said.
“I’ve done a lot of work to try and build respect and trust at the footy club, and I’m disappointed these actions don’t reflect that.
“Just a bad mistake, a bad error of judgement, unfortunately has consequences.”
May said “it’s all about actions and what I do going forward” and he was “really apologetic” to Demon fans.
The 30-year-old said there were no hard feelings between he and Melksham despite their altercation.
“We’re really good mates, we have a lot of love for each other. Sometimes guys can get a little bit competitive with the banter and go a little bit overboard,” May said.
“We certainly made an error of judgement in that time.
“We certainly didn’t mean for any of this to come back on the footy club.
“We’ve told our teammates we’re all fine – don’t feel like you have to pick sides or anything because we’re still good friends. “It was just a silly decision that we made and deeply regret already.”
May will now miss the blockbuster Queen’s Birthday clash with Collingwood after he accepted a suspension driven by Melbourne’s leadership group.
After starting the season with 10 consecutive wins, the Demons have lost their past two games to Fremantle and Sydney.
Melbourne football boss Alan Richardson said under the club’s guidelines May “should not have been drinking” at the dinner while under the AFL’s concussion protocols.
May and Melksham will complete community service with one of the club’s partners so they “understand the responsibility and impact they have as role models within the community”.
Richardson said the club was extremely disappointed by the incident and both players “incredibly remorseful that things played out the way they did”.
“Over the past three years, Steven has developed into one of our most important on-field leaders, and while the impact of not having him available for selection is significant, what is more significant to us is our culture and the commitment we have to live by our values,” Richardson said.
“We are proud of the culture we have built over the past few years and while we are disappointed with Steven’s behaviour, we back in his character and will support him to ensure he is armed to make better decisions for himself and the football club moving forward.”