DUSTIN Martin's mentor Mark Williams has passionately defended the midfielder's decision to step away from a media conference on Wednesday to avoid questions about his contract status.
Martin was on hand with Williams in Melbourne for a footy promotion, but wasn't keen to hang around when asked about his future at Richmond.
The 25-year-old is out of contract at the end of this season and becomes eligible for restricted free agency, but is yet to commit to the Tigers, despite reportedly being offered a new long-term deal.
Martin took to social media on Wednesday night to defend himself against what he called "fake news" and speaking to SEN radio on Thursday morning, Williams, a former assistant coach at the Tigers, also slammed reports that Martin had stormed out of the press conference.
"When they (the media) asked him about his future straight away, he politely said 'I'm not going to talk about that, I'll talk about the ball', and they persisted again and persisted again," he said.
"He (then) politely walked off, he didn't scream, he didn't tell them off, he just said 'Well if you're not going to respect what I'm here for, what's the point?'
"To say he stormed off is a joke, he just walked off to the side and stayed there for another half an hour taking photos with people.
"The facts are that if you keep harassing him, he'll walk away, he won't fight.
"He's a very shy person so he gets to the point (where he thinks) just leave me alone.
"There's no doubt that he can match it with anyone in regards to discussion but he just avoids conflict."
Williams believes the midfielder is treated unfairly because he doesn't conform to "mainstream media", and while he refused to speculate on Martin's future, said the Tiger has every right to decide where his career continues in his own time, even if he waits until the end of season 2017.
"That’s up to him and (his manager) Ralph (Carr), if he says that’s what he's doing, then that’s what he's doing," he said.
"Dustin and I are really close, but he's happy to say 'I'll let it go until the end of the year', so if he's said that, just let it go.
"To question him every week about his contract is just a joke, you've just got to respect what he does.
"Because Dustin is what he is, and he's his own man, people treat him differently to the other stars in the game."