Television stars body shame footballer
Essendon star Jake Stringer has had his weight and conditioning brought into question after a bizarre public body-shaming by Channel 7 stars Bruce McAvaney and Brian Taylor.
Stringer stood tall for Essendon in the first half against Collingwood at the MCG on Friday night and pushed the Bombers to an early lead with back-to-back goals in the second quarter to help his side to a 30-19 lead at half time.
Despite the 26-year-old's undeniable impact on the scoreboard, McAvaney and Taylor instead chose to focus on Stringer's physique - openly suggesting he has lost conditioning in recent months because of the impact of coronavirus restrictions on his training programs.
After Stringer slotted his second goal, McAvaney and Taylor chortled their way through to the next ball-up, highlighting Stringer's big "backside".
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"He looks big to me," McAvaney said.
"He doesn't look as fit as I've seen him look. He's big through the backside, he's big through the legs. And the tummy as well. And yet, he's kicked two goals.
"He's done everything right, but he looks big doesn't he."
Taylor responded by suggesting Stringer may have struggled to keep up his conditioning when forced to train away from teammates over the past few months.
"I reckon he's one of the guys that needs to be with the group, under the pressure of training with the group, I reckon, to get the absolute best out of his body," Taylor said.
"I personally believe he needs to train with the group. Now with the situation we've had over the last few months, it's been hard for him to find quality time with the group. I know other players have done it, but he needs a little bit more coaching than others."
Fellow Seven commentator Wayne Carey then said: "Are you saying he doesn't have a six pack?"
A defiant Taylor refused to take a back step.
"He definitely doesn't have a six pack going at the moment," Taylor said.
The bizarre commentary was immediately called out for being tone-deaf by footy commentators on social media.
Bruce calling Jake Stringer “big” as in overweight is diplorable commentary.— Jarrad Grant (@jarradgrant1) July 3, 2020
So we ok with Bruce saying Jake Stringer looks big in the backside and thick in the thighs after he kicks his second goal? BT inferring he’s carrying a muffin top. The Duck saying he doesn’t have a 6-pack. Is this ok now? #AFL #AFLPiesDons— Paul Cochrane (@paulcochrane) July 3, 2020
Did Bruce just body shame Stringer?— Nikki Clare (@Niksterisms) July 3, 2020
The hell. Wow.
Fox Footy star commentator Jonathan Brown used the half time break to instead praise Stringer's impact on the contest as Essendon kicked five unanswered goals to end the first half.
After pointing out Stringer made five tackles in the first half after making just seven tackles in the first four rounds of the season, Brown said: "He's really stepped up".
It comes after Essendon claimed in May that Stringer was fitter than he has ever been since moving to the Bombers.
The club said Stringer smashed 20 seconds off his previous personal best pre-season two-kilometre time trial result this summer.
"Right now, he's in a great spot," teammate Devon Smith told the club's website.
"He's just had a new child, little River. I've been doing bits and pieces of training with him (during the lockdown). I still text him most days and he's mentally and physically in the best shape since I've seen him at the football club, so hopefully over the next two to three years, he really comes on the scene and becomes the player we know he can be."
The club listed Stringer's weight at 91kg at the start of the season.
Originally published as Ch7 stars body shame AFL weapon