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Misuse of social media prompts Carlton to sack Josh Bootsma 

Jennifer Phelan  June 3, 2014 4:29 PM

Bootsma booted, Roos no-go zone and more Matt Thompson and Nat Edwards bring you up-to-date
AFL 2014 NAB Challenge - North Melbourne v Carlton

The Blues have sacked defender Josh Bootsma

Putting inappropriate material on social media ... was the straw that broke the camel's back
THE INAPPROPRIATE use of social media that led to Josh Bootsma's sacking was the latest in a string of off-field misbehaviours that saw him lose the trust of the Carlton players over the past year. 

The 21-year-old defender, who played 14 senior games for the Blues, had his playing contract terminated on Tuesday after "a series of disciplinary issues". 

The Blues were notified on Monday of Bootsma's inappropriate social media venture, which was reported by a member of the public. 

They investigated the issue, and after 12 months of the West Australian showing poor commitment by arriving late to training and missing appointments, made the decision to cut him loose. 

"There's been a number of issues we've been dealing with for quite some time now," Carlton football manager Andrew McKay said. 

"One of those has come to light very recently, putting inappropriate material on social media, and that was the straw that broke the camel's back for us to terminate his contract. 

"It's been going on for probably a year now, which is disappointing. 

"They were the types of things that lose the trust of the playing group. 

"When you lose the trust of the playing group, all doesn't go well to hold your spot at the club."

McKay said the "difficult" decision was made in consultation with the AFL and the AFLPA, but without the guidance of the club's leadership group. 

He said the Blues acted quickly after Monday's social media breach and told Bootsma and the players of the decision on Tuesday. 

Bootsma left the club in a car shortly before McKay briefed the media and did not get the chance to speak to his former teammates. 

"The leadership group was not consulted on the decision; the decision was made by management at the football club and you have to understand we acted quite swiftly and we needed to," McKay said. 

"I think it was above the decision of the leadership group.

"We're dealing with a young man here and his livelihood so it certainly wasn't a light decision on our behalf. 

"It was a well thought-out decision.

"We've been consultation with the AFL and the AFLPA in the last 24 hours and we all believe this is the right decision."

Bootsma had been offered counselling and welfare support to help him work through his disciplinary issues but continued to fail to "adhere to the standards expected and required". 

The Blues will now work with his management in regards to how his contract – which runs until the end of 2015 – is finalised. 

McKay said Bootsma was "reasonably devastated" about the turn of events after endeavouring to gain back the trust of the players recently. 

The Blues players were again briefed about the pitfalls of social media on Tuesday but McKay denied the club had a problem in that area. 

Brock McLean was suspended for a game and fined $5000 for an offensive tweet directed at a fan in 2012, shortly after Marc Murphy, Jarrad Waite and then-Blue Jeremy Laidler took to Twitter to criticise the umpires. 

McKay declined to comment on the nature of Bootsma's social media breach but said the incident served as a reminder to be sensible when using it. 

"It's a real reminder for all of us, all players across the League and all young men and women across society that you need to be very, very careful when you're dealing with social media," he said. 

"The point is he's put something on social media that's highly inappropriate and it really does not meet the standards of the football club and that's where I'd like to leave it.

"We don't want any player in our establishment involved in that sort of behaviour."

Bootsma is the third player the Blues have lost in 2014, following the retirements of Nick Duigan and Heath Scotland. His axing comes at a testing time for the Blues, who sit 12th on the ladder with four wins from 10 games.

Shortly before the Blues announced Bootsma’s sacking, coach Mick Malthouse implored fans to stick by the club. 

"It's a testing time, we hope that you are all on board, please stick [by us] and we will do everything we possibly can," Malthouse said in a weekly video to Carlton members.

Bootsma was taken with pick No.22 in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft. 

The Blues tried to trade him at the end of last season but he remained at the club after he failed to attract interest in his home state.

The son of former Fremantle player Brad was recruited from South Fremantle's WAFL Colts team.