AFL champion Eddie Betts has opened up on the notorious Adelaide Crows camp, revealing he lost passion for football after the “weird” and “disrespectful” experience.
Betts, who retired last year after a glittering 350-game career, has detailed the significant fallout from the Crows’ 2018 pre-season camp in his autobiography.
Ahead of the release of The Boy from Boomerang Crescent on Wednesday, excerpts of the eagerly-anticipated book have emerged via Nine newspapers.
Betts, an Indigenous icon and one of the AFL’s greatest small forwards, has claimed the group – which he chose not to name in the book – running the camp misused personal and sensitive information.
“There was all sorts of weird shit that was disrespectful to many cultures, but particularly and extremely disrespectful to my culture,” Betts wrote in the book and published in The Age.
“Things were yelled at me that I had disclosed to the camp’s ‘counsellors’ about my upbringing.
“All the people present heard these things.
“I was exhausted, drained and distressed about the details being shared.
“Another camp-dude jumped on my back and started to berate me about my mother, something so deeply personal that I was absolutely shattered to hear it come out of his mouth.”
Betts said what happened at the camp on the Gold Coast and the group’s involvement with the club impacted on his mental health and form during the 2018 season.
After addressing the playing group about how unsafe and uncomfortable the camp made him feel, Betts claims he was dropped from the Crows’ leadership group just three weeks later.
He continued playing for the Crows in 2019, before requesting a trade back to his original club, Carlton.
Betts added another 36 games for the Blues, before retiring at the end of last season.
“I felt like I’d lost the drive to play footy, and to be honest, I’m not sure I ever had the same energy I did before that camp,” Betts wrote.
The camp in question was held after Adelaide’s shock 2017 grand final loss to Richmond.
The Crows have failed to qualify for the finals since that disappointing defeat and are three seasons into a rebuild under new coach Matthew Nicks.
A SafeWork SA investigation last year cleared Adelaide of breaching health and safety laws and an AFL investigation in October 2018 cleared the Crows of any rule breach.