AFLPA boss Paul Marsh has hit out at the AFL for what he believes are double standards in the treatment of Port Adelaide forward Jeremy Finlayson’s homophobic remarks.

Finlayson was suspended for three matches on Wednesday for the comment made towards an Essendon player last week, and he will also be required to attend Pride in Sport training, which he will pay for.

During the pre-season, North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson was fined $20,000 and handed a two-match ban that was suspended for two years after he made a homophobic comment towards St Kilda players Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard.

“We believe the AFL is consistently inconsistent and there are double standards in its approach to dealing with players compared to others on behavioural matters,” Marsh, who acknowledged there was no place for homophobic slurs in football, said in a statement.

“This issue highlights the lack of clarity on how the AFL handles these situations and we want this to be the catalyst for an urgent review of the sanctioning framework.

“If this type of conduct is a three-week sanction for a player, it should be for everyone involved in the game and this should be clear to everyone in the industry up front rather than the open-ended approach that is currently in place.”

Perceived differences in the language used by Clarkson and Finlayson are believed to have played into the different bans, with Clarkson using the term “c*** s*****” towards the two players, while Finlayson called an individual opponent a “f*****”.

Ian Roberts said he believes education is the answer to ongoing issues around homophobia in sport.(ABC News: Housnia Shams)

Pride in Sport national manager Beau Newell said he hoped the training Finlayson is set to undergo will help him become an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community.

“Hopefully he will be able to leave the education with much better information with how to be a better ally to the community,” Newell told ABC News Breakfast.

“The importance of this can’t be underestimated. I think it’s really important to acknowledge the fact this is a positive step for Jeremy in particular and others at the clubs that will be taking part in the education.

“It’s also really important to point out that across Australia this behaviour is happening far too often and education is a really important piece of the puzzle here, particularly when we want to stamp out this behaviour.”

Former NRL player and gay rights advocate Ian Roberts said the issue of homophobia was particularly bad in male contact sports.

“You’ve only got to look at the success of the Matildas over the last couple of years and the way that the women’s game seems to embrace same-sex couples,” Roberts said.

“Unfortunately, in men’s — particularly team contact sports — it’s seen as a real weakness still.

“We’re talking about a wider community culture where calling someone gay is insulting them and basically saying that someone who is gay is less.

“I really believe our greatest shield and sword in combating this type of stuff is education.”

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