A TRIP home to Warrnambool for Christmas forced Geelong footballer Billie Smedts to make an embarrassing apology after posing for a “selfie” apparently while driving.
Police and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) — which sponsors Geelong — condemned the former North Warrnambool Eagles player’s Instagram post on Tuesday which appeared to show the Cats player steering the vehicle with his knees while holding a GoPro camera fixed to a pole outside the car.
The image was shared with his 10,000 Instagram followers.
In a statement issued by the club, Mr Smedts’ apologised for the image but insisted it was “staged” and that the car wasn’t moving.
“I understand that in taking and posting this image that it sends a poor and irresponsible message and I’m sorry for causing that,” Mr Smedts said.
“Even though I wasn’t driving at the time and it was a staged shot, people seeing the photo could have thought it was real and wanted to copy it. That would be dangerous and could easily cause an accident.”
TAC chief executive Janet Dore told Fairfax Media this week she was astonished by Smedts’ actions.
“I’m just wondering what his parents would think if he lost control of the car, went off the road and died,” Ms Dore said. “I understand the club will be taking action.
“So many fatalities in the last two weeks have been because of distractions ... people need to realise that they’ve got to be alert.”
Ms Dore said the TAC had spoken with the Geelong Football Club about Mr Smedts’ behaviour.
Victoria Police’s head of road policing operations Superintendent Neville Taylor said he was disappointed by the footballer’s actions. “Isn’t it disappointing to see this type of behaviour?” he said.
“We don’t know if the car was moving or not but it’s about the perception.”
Superintendent Taylor said he was seeking advice from highway patrol officers but doubted whether police would pursue the case as a criminal matter.
“We need to determine if the vehicle was moving and what are the offences committed ... I’d rather have my people out on the road where the drivers can see them.”
The Standard has been unable to reach Mr Smedts for comment.
Mr Smedts has played 27 AFL games since being drafted to Geelong in 2010.
In April a fake robbery prank on a teammate saw Mr Smedts and another player arrested by Geelong police at gunpoint.