Smith, who is? serving a suspension for headbutting an opponentappears to be holding a bag of white powder in one of the images.
“I was recently made aware of the presence of social media content showing me using an illegal substance,” Smith said in the statement.
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“When dealing with this, there is a great temptation to speak in vague generalities and avoid the issue.
“However, I am determined to learn the lessons of my past and become a better person in the future.
“After much consideration, I am now in a position to confess that I have indulged in behavior at the end of 2021, which I am deeply ashamed of. I have no excuse for that behaviour, but the state of my mental health during that period after The big Finals deteriorated dramatically and I got out of control leading to poor decision making and actions at the time. All this resulted in the leave I took from football late last year at the start of the preparation for the season.
“The depth of my emotions during that period, coupled with some of my behaviors, have reminded me that as a person I am still a work in progress.
“I know I have obligations outside of myself, not just contractually, but in terms of the example I set through the decisions I make, and I will get better.
“I’ve made mistakes. I’m very aware of that and I own it completely.
“I offer my unreserved apologies to my family, my teammates, my club and its sponsors, the AFL, my supporters and my sponsors.
“I’ve made mistakes, but I’m committed to learning from every mistake and doing everything I can to not disappoint myself and those around me.”
Smith’s statement followed a press release from the Bulldogs.
“The Western Bulldogs are aware of images of Bailey Smith circulating on social media,” the club statement read.
“The club is investigating the legitimacy of these images and is unable to comment further at this time.”
The AFL Players’ Association also released a statement attributed to CEO Paul Marsh.
“The AFL Players’ Association takes note of the issue that has arisen today regarding Bailey Smith,” the statement said.
“Bailey is a young man who made a mistake, but more importantly, admitted wrong and, more importantly, took steps to learn from it and grow as a person as a result.
“The AFL environment is pressurized and high-profile and Bailey has shared his battles with mental health before.
“When problems like this arise, there are usually two alternative approaches that people think should be taken.
“Condemn, punish and shame the player involved or support, educate and try to use the problem as an opportunity for growth.
“The AFLPA will support Bailey during this time and we are confident the Western Bulldogs will do the same.”
One of the most popular young players in the AFL, Smith has been embroiled in a number of off-field controversies over the past 12 months.
He opened the toll that his popularity brought, revealing that he even got $50,000 to sleep with someone†
In the days leading up to last year’s grand finale, a fake ‘nude’ image of him began circulating.
The 21-year-old was granted leave of absence from the club last December for personal reasons, before returning for the preseason.
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