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Barry Hall’s vulgar comments are tragically reminiscent of another former ‘Triple M’ presenter

And their apologies rest on the same crutch—they’re “proud fathers”.

By Kate Wagner

Over the weekend, former Sydney Swans captain Barry Hall made a comment so vulgar, he was immediately sacked from Triple M—the broadcaster couldn't even wait until the end of the show to do the deed.

The comments—which were as bizarre as they were crude—led to extreme backlash and the next day, Hall apologised for what he said.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise for any offence taken from my commentary on Friday night's Triple M footy coverage," Hall told News Corp Australia.
"It was a silly thing to say and it is not a reflection of who I am or what my views are."

Then came the line so many male celebrities have been groomed to wheel out whenever they say something derogatory about women: "I am a proud father and dedicated partner and have nothing but respect for women."

It was a sentiment echoed by his girlfriend, Lauren Brant, in a gushy post on Instagram.

"Every single day he makes me feel loved and admired and on top of it all, he is the absolute best Dad in the world to our son," she captioned a photo of Barry and their son on Instagram.

"Everyone is very sensitive right now as no one wants to be viewed as doing something wrong in a time when we are trying to make things right, but we mustn't let that blur the goal of making positive change by wasting time accusing individuals," she added.

Hall agreed, wanting for the whole silly mess to hurry up and be over.

"Once, again, I am sorry, I should not have said such an inappropriate comment on air and hope I can be forgiven and move forward from here," he said.

And therein lies the rub: He wishes he hadn't said it on air, not that he was working on understanding why he thought making a derogatory comment about his co-star's pregnant wife was acceptable, let alone funny.

But it's not the first obscene "joke" about a pregnant woman made on the station. In 2015, Andrew Jarman was discussing ways to induce labour with co-host Dale Lewis and their guest, former Port Adelaide captain Domenic Cassisi, whose wife Maiya was nine months pregnant at the time.

Jars' insightful advice? "Just f* the guts out of 'em with your big ck."

Charming.

While the station was quick to blame human error for the clip making its way to air, the fact one of their presenters thought that a suitable thing to say in the workplace is worrying.

Like clockwork, the former AFL player stressed he, too, was a "proud family man".

"It was a stupid thing to do, I regret, I'm remorseful. I'm a proud family man, you don't say those things. I let my family down to a degree," he told Today Tonight.

"I thought we'd give him some advice on some early childhood tips to bring the birth along quicker. I threw out there what my advice and tips that I used with my lovely wife Marion with our three children and the words came out. I apologised as soon as we heard yesterday ... I'm very respectful of women."

It's a line we've heard time and time again, most frequently during the #MeToo movement. Matt Damon was famously condemned for quoting being a dad as his reasoning to denounce Harvey Weinstein's behaviour.

"As the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night," he told Deadline. "This is the great fear for all of us. You [the interviewer] have a daughter, you know…"

But being a family man isn't enough. We're sure both Hall and Jarman are nice enough to their loved ones, but what they said speaks to a larger problem with attitudes towards women.

YWCA Adelaide's Chief Executive Liz Forsyth condemned Jarman at the time, saying "he apologised for the language he used on air, not the implications of how he referred to a woman and someone else's pregnant wife."

"YWCA Adelaide is concerned that as somebody who is employed as a public commentator, albeit for football, this represents how he thinks about women and women's bodies," she said.

Two former AFL players, two vulgar comments about pregnant women, and two reassurances that, above all, they're proud family men. It begs the question, when are we going to start getting earnest apologies for gross gaffes instead of excuse-laden statements?