Two-week ban for a sip of beer on the pitch, but soccer player says punishment doesn’t fit crime

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A semi-professional Australian rules player has been suspended for two weeks for drinking a fan’s beer.

The incident, for which Tom Baulch has been charged with gross misconduct, happened during the fourth quarter of the Northern Territory Premier League Final game between the Darwin Buffaloes and Southern Districts on Saturday.

The Baulch Buffaloes lost the game 173-87.

Baulch says the league wanted to suspend him for five weeks and was glad his suspension was reduced to two weeks, but he still thought it was tough.

“I had a few people running around the field taking pictures, taking a little mickey but having a little fun, they were trying to give me beers and I kept saying ‘no,'” a- he declared.

Tom Baulch (right) was suspended for drinking a beer while on the pitch(Provided)

“We were getting run over and in the last quarter we were down about 100 points a stranger came out on the floor and handed me a beer and I said fuck him.”

But he says he never intended to discredit the game.

“I feel like I’m just trying to engage with the fans,” he said.

“I would never do anything to harm the AFL because it’s my favorite sport.”

In a statement, an AFLNT spokesman said drinking alcohol while playing football “discredits the game and does not fit the playing environment the NTFL seeks”.

“The NTFL strives to create appropriate and family-friendly environments,” the spokesperson said.

“As such, we expect everyone involved in football to display behaviors consistent with this.”

The NTFL spokesperson said Baulch pleaded guilty.

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Baulch has previously played VFL and NEAFL football and fears the suspension could jeopardize his chances of landing a contract this year.

“Unfortunately my offense in the NT could affect my chances of signing a nice contract at a southern club.”

Baulch is popular on social media and has over 150,000 followers on TikTok.

Last month, fans cheered tennis player Nick Kyrgios when he took a sip of a fan’s beer after a match on the Australian Open court.

The AFLNT tribunal ordered Baulch to remove the video from all social media and write a letter of apology to the AFLNT.

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