Retired AFL player Josh Jenkins has called for a “damning report” by a club doctor following the Adelaide Crows’ controversial 2018 camp to be made public and says he was moved on from the club for being a “problem child”.
- Josh Jenkins left the Adelaide Crows at the end of the 2019 season
- He says he was moved on from the club for speaking out internally about the 2018 preseason camp
- Jenkins claims details about his upbringing were used during the camp against his wishes
Jenkins has spoken publicly about the camp for the first time, backing up former teammate Eddie Betts — who has released a book this week which details the trauma he experienced as a result of the 2018 camp.
As well as outlining his own experience at the camp, Jenkins has called for the findings from a report conducted by club doctor Marc Cesana after the camp to be made public.
“No-one has ever acted on that report, which I know is damning,” Jenkins said.
“The report must see the light of day. It’s the only example of a medical professional who had day-to-day dealings with the people and players who were involved. He was concerned about us.
“He expressed his disappointment to me about what happened to us, but never disclosed the details of what he’d discussed with other players.”
He also claimed the club’s welfare manager was “iced out” of all discussions, planning and follow-up conversations regarding the camp.
In detailing the events of the camp, Jenkins said he was one of 10 players and two coaches who were part of the more intensive “group one” version of the camp.
He said he had reservations about taking part in the camp and tried to get himself out of it on numerous occasions.
“I recall us going around the circle and accepting the challenge whilst a couple of players needed to be withdrawn due to injury issues, as well as one player being removed because of some personal trauma he’d recently experienced,” Jenkins said.
“Hearing he was removed because his personal trauma may be too much on top of what we were about to endure had alarm bells ringing inside my head.”
Jenkins, who was raised by his non-biological grandmother, said he provided a “supposed counsellor” with details about his childhood prior to going on the camp.
“I specifically asked for assurance pre-camp that nothing regarding my childhood would be raised or used on the camp to spur me on or ‘break me down’,” he said.
“It’s my belief this promise was broken. And I’m not certain I’ll ever forgive those involved for that.
“Nor am I sure anyone has even truly taken responsibility for what went on and why it was allowed to happen.”
Jenkins recalled an exercise involving players being hoisted up in harnesses while having abuse hurled at them by facilitators and teammates.
He said he recalled “some of the barbs” being thrown at Betts and believed some players with a more “normal upbringing” might have been less affected by the camp.
He said post-camp, the club “completely fell apart” and everyone had been sworn to secrecy about what had occurred.
“Myself and a coach stood up one session and demanded we tell each other what happened, and the CEO or football manager — I cannot recall exactly who — stood up and said we were unable to because the club had signed confidentiality agreements on everyone’s behalf,” he said.
“I said, ‘I did not sign a damn thing.’”
Time as a Crow ‘significantly soured’
Jenkins said he continued to make his position on the camp known and he often spoke out on behalf of other players, causing friction between him and the club.
“In the end, when I knew where my future was headed, I looked forward to these conversations — which I regret because my time as a Crow has been significantly soured,” he said.
“In the end, I was moved on from the Crows as a problem child, an argument starter and even in one piece of media literature I saw labelling me as ‘cancerous’.
“The only cancer at the club was the idea that taking us on a psychologically unsafe camp that was supposedly going to make us better parents, siblings and teammates.”
Jenkins was traded to Geelong at the end of the 2019 season and retired from football last year.
He said his words today were not an attack on the club, and that he “loved the Crows” and what they provided to his family.
“I am so proud my name will be on the number four locker forever, but you cannot do things like this to people and not be held accountable,” he said.
The AFL and the Adelaide Football Club have both apologised to Betts for the trauma caused by the camp.
The ABC has contacted the Crows for a response to Jenkins’s comments.
Current coach Matthew Nicks, who was appointed to the club in 2019, said he had spoken to “several” current players who attended the camp, and would reach out to Betts and other former players in the coming weeks to “see how they’re going”.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC