AFL player Jaidyn Stephenson has apologised and backed away from comments he made on Instagram this week, where he said he didn’t think COVID-19 would be “such a big thing” if the media didn’t exist.

The North Melbourne medium forward did a Q&A with followers on Instagram, challenging fans to ask him anything that wasn’t related to footy. In a now-deleted video, someone asked about his thoughts on COVID-19 vaccinations.

Jaidyn replied that he thinks the media “overplays it a lot.”

“Ok, pretty topical, I don’t think some will like this answer,” he said.

“I think the media overplays it a lot. If there’s no media then I don’t think COVID is such a big thing.

“It’s just my opinion, I don’t want any replies.”

Mate. Maaaate. I’m sorry but you don’t get the privilege of being a footballer who was flown out of Melbourne to spend most of last year in a specifically-designed hub so you could continue your job (and is about to be flown to QLD for the same reason), and then sit there and say the pandemic is “overplayed” and specify that you don’t want people to speak up in the replies.

If you’re also thinking his name is familiar, Jaidyn was the player pinged in 2019 for betting on AFL games while playing for Collingwood. He was absolutely spanked with a massive 22-week suspension for his involvement in betting on his own club’s games.

Someone clearly got into his ear about how much of a clanger the COVID comment was coming from a professional AFL player , because the post was eventually removed and Jaidyn issued an apology for his comments.

“I apologise for my comments regarding the COVID situation,” he wrote on a later Insta story slide.

“I understand they were ill informed and that there are people going through hardship because of this pandemic.

“I’m sincerely sorry for any angst I’ve caused with my comments and endeavour to further educate myself on this topic.”

Good idea Jaidyn, maybe until then you should do less talky and more kicky.

Back on the Q&A, Jaidyn went on to answer a question about his favourite song at the moment. He said the one song he’s happy to listen to for ages on repeat is ‘Run Away‘ by Ziggy Alberts – a man who released a song with anti-vax themes in the middle of 2020, and compared mask wearing to a communist dictatorship.

Well, that tracks.

Image: Getty Images / AFL Photos / Michael Willson / Instagram / @jaidynlstephenson