DAMIAN Barrett believes AFL clubs are stonewalling media access to players, despite some of the league's brightest stars seeking a more open media strategy.
Barrett says clubs mistrust players' ability to handle themselves publicly, and it is hindering the promotion of the game.
"You can speak to players, you can have conversations with players, you can have private catch-ups with players, but you do not get that player on record any more," Barrett said on the Sounding Board podcast.
"And while … it's an actual agenda item now of the Players' Association to create more accessibility, it's conditional accessibility on every level and at every step for media right now."
Co-host Craig Hutchison said players are masterful ambassadors of the game and should be granted improved access to the media.
"I laugh at it now – the lack of availability. It's got to a new level now," Hutchison said.
"Now media are actually vying with paid media for players, which shouldn't have to happen by the way. In general, players' jobs should be to promote the code. That's why the NBA's so big.
"Now, you can pay a player to do something, but then you've got a club that wants to intercept that cheque and say, 'No, no, I still don't want him to do that', so you've got that war going between players and clubs.
"Let me be clear – players are not the issue here. Players are generally wonderful ambassadors who can handle their club's interests much better than clubs trust them to and who handle themselves well and want to promote the game. The issue is the clubs. It is getting worse and the AFL should – but won't – legislate against the clubs."
0:00 – Damo 0, St Kilda 2
2:00 – James Hird's return to coaching
5:15 – Scott Pendlebury's media plan
9:30 – AFL player media availability
12:00 – AFLW Grand Final
19:30 – Hutchy's radical AFLW fixture
21:30 – the warming of Brian Taylor
37:00 – Eddie McGuire
40:00 – The Footy Show ratings