Australia's St Kilda Football Club, also known as The Saints, has come under scrutiny after a dwarf hired to entertain the team during its end-of-season celebration was set on fire.
A group of players at the “Mad Monday” celebration began using a cigarette lighter to set each other’s clothes on fire. That’s when midfielder Clinton Jones, 29, set his sights on entertainer Blake Johnston, a dwarf who performs under the name “Mr. Big.”
Johnston and his colleague Arthur Serevetas were hired to entertain players at the event held in a Melbourne bar.
“A player went behind my friend with one of those gas lighters that you light up a stove and basically lit him up,” Serevetas told Channel Nine news.
“Part of his shirt and pants caught on fire. After that someone put it out and he got ticked off and we basically left. That was the end of our gig, basically.”
Serevetas said the incident was criminal and advised Johnston to take legal action.
“The club is investigating and is unable to add anything further at this time,” said a spokesman for the Australian Football League (AFL).
Jones has been fined $3,000AU, about $2,700 USD.
"I sincerely apologize to Mr. Johnston and have done so personally today," Jones said. "As a playing group we were engaged in end of season activities which in hindsight were quite childish. I made an error of judgment in including Mr. Johnston in the activity."
Chief executive of the AFL Andrew Demetriou also apologized because he laughed uncontrollably when he was confronted about the story on a TV show.
"I thought it was a joke," Demetriou told 3AW radio station. "When this was brought up, I just thought it was incredulous to think that this could possibly be. After I found out that it was true, it's just reprehensible. I was flabbergasted."