AFL Melbourn Demons off-field dramas take a new turn with Glen Bartlett claims

Melbourne’s off-pitch woes continue, with a statement attributed to former chairman Glen Bartlett saying he tried to free the AFL club from bullying, gambling, harassment and illegal drugs on work place.

Bartlett also accused unnamed parties of subjecting himself and his partner to threats and a public campaign to discredit them since March last year.

The development of the bomb is the first time in months that Bartlett has been quoted on topics in Melbourne, with the Herald Sun publishing the statement on Thursday evening.

Stories have emerged since earlier this year of off-court issues at the Demons during the 2020-21 summer, when coach Simon Goodwin was under mounting pressure.

Bartlett suddenly resigned as chairman in April last year after having held the post since 2014, with Kate Roffey taking over.

He said at the time he was “totally cooked” and Bartlett subsequently resigned from the Melbourne board in November last year.

In the statement, Bartlett is quoted as saying: “The decision to step down when I did was my own. I did so to ensure minimal distraction, after a very promising and even historic start to the season.

“As President, Workplace/OHS Advocate, and Parent, I was unwilling to compromise on core values, the law, and expected standards of behavior.

“I believe that my approach and raising these issues has resulted in a campaign against me from various quarters

“Since March 2021, we (he and his girlfriend) have been the subject of threats, deceptive behavior and a public campaign aimed at discrediting us professionally and personally.”

Later in the statement, Bartlett said that during his tenure as chairman he is “doing everything possible to ensure that the club is free from workplace bullying, gambling, harassment and illegal drugs”.

When Bartlett resigned as president, the Demons started last season 4-0 and would go on to win the premiership, breaking a 57-year drought.

But after starting their defense of the flag with a 10-game winning streak, Melbourne have lost their last three games.

In addition to ongoing media reports about Melbourne’s off-field past, full-back Stephen May was suspended for one game last week after a fight at a local restaurant with team-mate Jake Melksham.

Captain Max Gawn is also out for several weeks with an ankle injury.

Bartlett and the Demons have been contacted for comment.

Denise W. Whigham