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‘Deeply Ashamed’ Bailey Smith Responds To Photo With Illegal Substance As Bulldogs Investigate

Western Bulldogs star Bailey Smith is deeply embarrassed when photos surfaced on social media that appear to show the 21-year-old holding a bag of white powder.

Smith, who is currently serving a two-game ban for headbutting Geelong’s Zach Tuohy, has released a statement apologizing to his teammates, Bulldogs fans and the AFL community for the photos, which the club has confirmed are in late 2021. taken during a period when Smith was taking personal leave.

“After much thought, I am now in a position to confess that at the end of 2021 I committed myself to behavior of which I am deeply ashamed,” the statement read.

“I have no excuse for that behavior, but my mental health in that period after the Grand Final deteriorated dramatically and I got out of control, leading to poor decision-making and actions at the time.

“All this has resulted in the leave I took from football at the end of last year at the start of the preparation for the season.

“The depth of my emotions during that period, coupled with some of my behaviors, have reminded me that as a person I am still a work in progress.

“I know I have obligations outside of myself, not just contractually – but in terms of the example I set through the decisions I make, and I will get better.

“I made mistakes. I am very aware of that, and I fully own it.

“I offer my unreserved apologies to my family, my teammates, my club and its sponsors, the AFL, my supporters and my sponsors.

“I’ve made mistakes, but I’m committed to learning from every mistake and doing everything I can to not disappoint myself and those around me.

Bailey Smith of the Bulldogs and Zach Tuohy of the Cats greet each other.

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Bulldogs CEO Ameet Bains released an accompanying statement expressing his disappointment at Smith but stating that they are committed to ensuring the midfielder is supported by the club.

“We absolutely do not endorse the involvement of our players in illegal substances and are convinced that players are properly trained in what constitutes appropriate conduct,” said Bains.

“As a football club of significant influence, we have a responsibility to maintain the highest standards as we represent the community, our members and fans, our business partners and our other stakeholders.

“Bailey is a young man who has had a lot of challenges and pressures off the pitch in recent times, which he has spoken extensively about. He endured a particularly difficult time towards the end of last year which ultimately led to an absence from football.

“While this is clearly not an excuse for his behaviour, it is our responsibility as a club to ensure that we have supported and continue to support Bailey’s health and well-being.

“We are encouraged that Bailey has successfully taken steps this year to ensure he can manage his mental health and be strong in his decision-making, while being able to perform to the best of his ability on the pitch. This was reflected in his strong on-field performance throughout the 2022 AFL season.

“The club has supported Bailey throughout this process and we will continue to work closely with him and provide him with the support he needs as he continues his journey as a Bulldogs player.”

The statement also confirmed that a joint investigation between the Bulldogs and the AFL Integrity Unit is underway.

Smith, 21, was one of the Bulldogs’ best players in a difficult season after a stellar run of the final in 2021 helped the club reach the grand final.

He has averaged nearly 32 disposals per game so far in 2022, including a career-high 43 in the Dogs’ Round 5 win over North Melbourne.

Smith has quickly become one of the AFL’s most marketable figures; he is the most followed player on Instagram, with 371,000 followers.

Smith took time away from the club in December last year for personal reasons, while he has already faced controversy on social media in his young career; a fake nude photo purporting to be of him started circulating in the days leading up to the 2021 grand finale.

Smith currently has no contract until 2023, with he and the Bulldogs reportedly negotiating a deal of up to $800,000 a year.

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