‘Ill-informed’ Dangerfield intensifies AFL betting saga
GAMBLING counsellor Jan Beames and the AFL Players' Association could be bound for court after their dispute intensified.
The AFLPA has refused to retract comments about Beames made on the weekend by its president, Patrick Dangerfield.
Beames and her husband Colin, an organisational psychologist, were stunned by Dangerfield's accusation that Beames was a "disgruntled operator" and lacked qualifications.
They said Dangerfield's comments were "ill-informed".
The pair sent an email, obtained by the Herald Sun on Tuesday, to the AFLPA, requesting Dangerfield's comments be withdrawn.
"His comments were ill-informed, besmirching Jan Beames' counselling reputation and professional conduct, and otherwise unbecoming of the president of the AFLPA," Beames said.
"Patrick Dangerfield is recognised as a champion ball player on the football field, however off the field, both he and the AFLPA chose to 'play the man'.
"Unfortunately the comments and the AFLPA's response is a case of shooting the messenger against someone who has an outstanding record of helping players and others with an insidious gambling addiction."
Asked if there would be a retraction, AFLPA chief executive Paul Marsh said "no".
"The issue is there have been some players who have had meetings with Jan Beames and from our perspective it has been a gross breach of their trust and privacy," Marsh said.
"We have had contact from players, clubs and agents expressing their anger and disgust at the conduct of the Beameses. So, no, there won't be a retraction.
"The facts of the matter are we work with qualified psychologists and psychiatrists, we have 120 of them.
"We have had contact with Jan before (and) if she could get qualified then she's certainly eligible to be considered for the network.
"But she hasn't got those qualifications."
Beames denied she had crossed privacy boundaries by offering a number of player case studies, which were printed in the Herald Sun last Saturday.
"They were amended to protect the confidentiality of the players involved. This is normal practice," Beames said.
"No names were mentioned (either on or off the record) and confidentiality was preserved, contrary to Mr Dangerfield's implication."
The AFLPA and Dangerfield also questioned Beames' qualifications.
"From my point of view, she's not a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist, so we as a players' association are never going to refer players to her," Dangerfield said.
Colin Beames said the overwhelming feedback was supportive of his wife.
"All the feedback we've had is people were pretty disappointed with Patrick Dangerfield," he said.
"They're looking to shoot the messenger and not the message ... most people would recognise that."
On Monday night, Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said the AFLPA's targeting of Beames was "probably not fair".
"She's a woman of great experience, she's worked with a lot of AFL players from various clubs for a long, long time and she probably understands this issue as good as anyone going around," he said.
One of Beames' clients, former Melbourne player David Schwarz, said on 3AW: "I have referred a lot of people to Jan and she knows what she's talking about. I think the players' association calling her disgruntled is really unfair and quite nasty."
The email to the AFLPA noted Jan Beames was university-trained and a member of the Association of the Psychotherapist and Counsellors Federation of Australia and that she was subject to their associated ethical guidelines and confidentiality requirements.
STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF COLIN + JAN BEAMES:
Statement by Colin and Jan Beames in relation to the AFLPA's statement on 07/06/2019 and subsequent 3AW radio comments by Patrick Dangerfield, President of the AFLPA on 08/06/2019
Patrick Dangerfield is recognised as a champion ball player on the football field. However off the field, both he and theAFLPA, chose to 'play the man' (or to be more correct, the woman) in his 3AW radio response and the AFLPA's response (07/06/2019), to the article on gambling by Mark Robinson in the Herald Sun, 07/06/2019.
His comments were ill informed, besmirching Jan Beames' counselling reputation and professional conduct, and otherwise unbecomingof the President of the AFLPA. He has never met Jan. Unfortunately Mr Dangerfield's comments and the AFLPA's response is acase of 'shooting the messenger' against someone who has an outstanding record of helping Players (i.e., AFLPA members) and others with an insidious gambling addiction. As such they require repudiation.
For the record, Jan is university trained (Bachelor of Counselling, UNE), a clinical member of the QCA, which in turn is a Member Association of the Psychotherapist and Counsellors Federation of Australia. This is the national peak body for university-trained counsellors and psychotherapists in Australia. She is subject to their associated ethical guidelines and confidentiality requirements.
With regard to matters of confidentiality, the case studies published in the Herald Sun article were amended to protect the confidentiality of the Players involved. This is normal practice in the counselling area and other fields.
Jan was also asked whether she had recently seen two players who have lost in excess of a seven figure sum due to gambling, to which she replied 'yes'. To put this response in context, she has seen a number of recent Players (both current and recently retired), who have lost huge amounts of money. She is also aware of recent rumours and other past rumours circulating about a number of other Players who have sustained large losses. Outside of these rumours, there are also other Players who have sustained such lossesthat have gone 'under the radar'.
There was no association whatsoever implied between Jan's response and these recent rumours concerning any particular Players and to imply otherwise is pure conjecture and speculation. No names were mentioned (either on or off the record as can be confirmed with Mark Robinson) and confidentiality was preserved, contrary to Mr Dangerfield's implication. Furthermore, David Schwarz in a radio interview on 3AW on the 10/06/2019 confirmed that of the many people who he had referred to Jan, she had never breached confidentiality.
Whilst the AFLPA may boast a carde of counselling psychologists and psychiatrists for Player counselling, the question is whether some of them have the specialised experience and expertise in dealing with this difficult gambling addiction. Case study evidence would suggest that some don't.
Furthermore, there is absolutely no research based evidence to suggest that counselling psychologists are any more effective in counselling outcomes compared to tertiary qualified non-psychologist with a counselling degree. The Sporting Chance UK-based organisation, that provides rehabilitation services to elite sportspeople (in particular soccer Players), utilises tertiary-trained counsellors and not psychologists.
It would appear that the AFLPA would rather send their Players with gambling addictions to some psychologists with little experience in dealing with this difficult area of addiction (in some cases multiple counsellors), as opposed to effective tertiary-trained counsellors with a track record of success! Hardly in the best interests of their Players and lacking a duty of care.
Jan has a thriving counselling practice and together with husband Colin Beames (an organisational psychologist), has written the most comprehensive book yet published on sports gambling, including elite sports. They are Subject Matter Experts in this field.
Turning to the prediction of up to 120 Players and Coaches having a gambling addiction, the basis of this figure is referenced in our above book. It includes, amongst other things, some 2014 UK research on 1,000 athletes from a wide range of sports.
This research concluded that male athletes in team sports were eight times more likely to experience gambling problems than the general population (which incidentally is 1.5%). There is no reason to believe that similar figures would not apply to AFL Players.
Other 2014 UK research of 350 professional soccer players and cricketers found 6.1% were classified as problem gamblers. This prediction also takes into account input from various Players (e.g., Players from two AFL Clubs have estimatedthat two thirds of their number gamble), quotes from eminent people in the AFL industry (Jeff Kennett and Tony Shepherd, both AFL club presidents), and Jan's observations.
It should be noted that she has counselled Players and Coaches from 12 AFL clubs. It is an indictment on the current AFLPA's Gambling Program that no such data exists on the prevalence of problem gambling.
A number of prominent people have identified that gambling is the biggest problem in AFL. Combined with this lack of data, little if any, follow up and records on counselling success with addictions (as well as other issues), indicates a token approach. It would appear that counselling has been outsourced by the AFLPA and then forgotten about. Other deficiencies in the current anti-gambling program include the lack of a steering committee with representation of key stakeholders (e.g., Player Managers), and associated governance to oversee program.
We trust that it does not take a Player or Coach's suicide to prompt further action, or that the integrity of the game is otherwise corrupted and tarnished. Clearly there is a need for the AFL to now step in to ensure an effective and comprehensive anti-gambling program for both Players and Coaches.
Finally we have received overwhelming support from colleagues, current and past clients, and other significant professional people (including David Schwarz, Jeff Kennett), in bringing this significant gambling issues out in the open.
Jan and Colin Beames