Ex-Crow Bryce Gibbs Recalls Psychological Abuse At 2018 Horror Camp

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Former Adelaide Crows player Bryce Gibbs regrets not speaking out when teammates raised issues over a problematic 2018 AFL preseason camp, saying afterwards there were “a lot of red flags”.

Crows native superstar Edide Betts revealed earlier this week that his culture was not respected during the camp and sensitive information he revealed to counselors was shouted at him.

Gibbs, who switched from Carlton to Adelaide after the 2017 season, says the camp ended careers, split the squad and players were “trained” on what to tell family and friends.

“We were told not to go into detail about what happened and for whatever reason, most of us adhered to that at the time,” he said in a lengthy statement to SEN radio on Saturday.

Gibbs said the group was blindfolded, put on a bus with darkened windows, and blasted with heavy metal music.

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He said he got a call from a counselor about his childhood, but didn’t reveal too much.

Confidentiality Abused

Gibbs said his experience was not as bad as Betts or Josh Jenkins, who on Friday supported Betts’ claims and said personal information he told camp leaders was also used against him.

“All those little things that kept happening and that were strange and that you didn’t think too much about it,” Gibbs said.

Eddie Betts was so upset by the camp that he lost his enthusiasm for a game he had loved since childhood. Photo: Getty

“Looking back, there were plenty of red flags that happened as the camp progressed.

“It was pretty tough seeing other players go through what they’ve been through. I didn’t really know what to do. I didn’t really know how to justify it, what to make of it.”

Gibbs believes the camp contributed to the club’s slide in 2018, having made it to the grand final the year before.

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“Probably the most disappointing… was the after-camp and the dishes when we thought about it,” he said.

“Guys started talking… those who were having trouble with what had happened talked about their experiences.

“Here I feel really disappointed in myself, this is when I started to sit in the background.

“Watching guys stand up and say, this isn’t on, we need to deal with this; we need to tell people what happened,” they seemed to shut down pretty quickly.”

Gibbs, who retired at the end of 2019, said players lost confidence with members of the football department after the camp. Betts has said that he lost his passion for the game afterward and never found it again until he retired.

‘Of course the wrong thing’

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan and Adelaide boss Tim Silvers have apologized to Betts, while the league’s players’ association has reopened an investigation.

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An investigation by SafeWork SA last year acquitted Adelaide of violating health and safety laws and an AFL investigation in October 2018 has in no way led to the violation of any industry rule.

“We were trying to move on… that was clearly the wrong thing. That’s probably why we’re talking about it four years later,” Gibbs said.

“When I think about it, it just shouldn’t have happened.

“I feel like the decisions that were made to do some of these things have ended a career. The setback it has had on guys mentally, you can’t erase that from your memory.

“I could have been a voice and more supportive of these guys in a group environment as they challenge some of the decisions made during this period.

“If I had my time again, I would do it differently.”

-MONKEY

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