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Bryce Gibbs reveals regret over Crows side defense that ‘ended careers’

Former Adelaide and Carlton star Bryce Gibbs has expressed regret over previous comments defending the infamous Crows side, becoming the latest player to reveal what happened at the start of 2018.

Gibbs claimed he had been in ‘much worse camps’ at the Blues in an interview with age in 2018.

However, talking to SEN S.A.the 33-year-old, who played 268 games for both clubs before retiring in 2020, admitted to being “really disappointed” in himself for not speaking out against the side at the time.

“The most disappointing thing for me was probably the post-game in the wash, when we were thinking about it and guys started talking who had issues with what happened and talking about their experiences and that it wasn’t great,” Gibbs said.

“That’s where I think; I feel like I’m really disappointed in myself, because that’s when I started to take a step back.

“Watching the guys stand up and say ‘it’s not, we need to fix this, we need to tell people what happened’, they seemed to shut down pretty quickly. And for me, to see those guys, as brave as it was to get up there and try to have peace and get shut down – those guys had been at the club for a number of years, had a lot of respect within the group.

“I felt like if I had to stand up and say something, how was I going to have much attraction or clout when I had only been there for five minutes?

>> READ: Josh Jenkins’ childhood was ‘a source of shame, pain and pride’. He says the leaders of the Crows camp used him to mistreat him

“On reflection, I’m disappointed not to have [speak up] because there was an opportunity there to support some of my friends as they went through much more emotionally difficult experiences than me. So maybe it was easier for me to just sit back and say nothing.

“But reflecting on those comments or those ongoing conversations, when we try to flush it out, I regret not speaking up when I probably should have been a more seasoned and seasoned player in that group.

“And that fractured the group of players and broke relations in the football department, the players lost trust with the members of that football department.”

Following revelations from Eddie Betts and Josh Jenkins during the week that the camp exploited their psychological trauma, Gibbs said his “great childhood” gave him a completely different experience of camp.

“As others have stated during the week, I also got a call from a counselor to talk about my childhood and past experiences. In fact, I thought that was also a bit of a red flag from my perspective,” he said.

“During this interview process, I didn’t really reveal much. I was blessed with a very good upbringing, a very good childhood, which I’m very grateful for. So I don’t didn’t have a lot of trauma, so to speak, growing up.

“Even still, knowing that, I was still quite calculated in what I said to this person – I didn’t trust him. I didn’t know them.

“I thought it was unusual to do this before going into a camp, so I was very calculated in what I said and didn’t really give too much away.

“I was disappointed with the way I handled it after camp. I felt like I could have been a voice, I could have supported these guys more in a group environment by challenging some decisions made during this period.

“And if I had my time again, I would do things differently.”

Crows’ Bryce Gibbs looks dejected after a loss during the 2018 AFL Round 01 match between Essendon Bombers and Adelaide Crows at Etihad Stadium on March 23, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Gibbs provided more details about the infamous “harness ritual”, saying the level of abuse he suffered in the process was a world apart for others.

“I had my time on the harness and I went through what I went through and it was completely different from what some of the other guys went through on the harness,” he said.

“And it’s probably related to the fact that I was quite reserved during this meeting of councilors. I didn’t give too much and probably didn’t get attacked with some of the things that other guys got attacked with.

“It made the experience for me probably a little easier to reflect on. But there were definitely people in my face telling me that I left my old club and was an average player and whatever, but I could get by, I could get by.

“But watching other players go through what they went through – it was quite difficult. I didn’t really know what to do, I didn’t really know how to justify it, what to think about it.

Gibbs also suggested that the Crows had pressured the players to keep quiet about the camp at the time, reiterating Betts’ position that the group had been ‘brainwashed’ into shut up.

“We were educated by the folks at camp on what to say to family, friends and other teammates. And then I think after camp, when the players wanted to come out and talk, we were advised not to,” Gibbs said.

“Things have been signed, documents have been signed on their behalf by the club on confidentiality. And I think because there was a lack of governance around it, people didn’t act, people didn’t talk – not knowing what would happen if they did.

“I think that’s why a lot of people probably played a straight bat in the media and tried to downplay it, because if we’re not allowed to talk and if guys were worried about the consequences of talking and talking, like, that also plays a part in it.

“It made it extremely difficult for guys to come out and say what happened and that’s why it went on for four years I guess.”

Gibbs has no doubt that the side have “fractured” the squad, reiterating Jenkins and Betts’ belief that a strong squad that appeared in the previous season’s Grand Finals was never the same.

He also said the camp and the aftermath cut his career short.

“The way it fractured the group and the way the club declined, and our performance went down,” Gibbs said.

“Would I have played more games at Adelaide Football Club if this camp had not taken place? Most likely. Do I blame camp for my career ending the way it did? Absolutely not.

“Was this the start of things to come? Absolutely. It wasn’t the end goal, but I felt like the decisions made to do some of these things ended careers.

“The backlash it had for the guys mentally, you can’t erase that from memory.”

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