MELBOURNE, Australia — Port Adelaide forward Jeremy Finlayson was given a three-game suspension Wednesday after admitting to making a homophobic slur toward an Essendon player in a top-flight Australian Rules football match last week.

The Australian Football League said Finlayson used an “unprompted and highly offensive” remark during the third quarter of his team's 69-point win over Essendon last Friday.

As well as missing three games, Finlayson will be required to attend a Pride In Sport training program at his own expense.

In determining the sanction, the AFL took into account the 28-year-old Finlayson apologizing and admitting his mistake quickly.

“Everyone, including Jeremy, understands the word he used is both hurtful and totally unacceptable in any setting, ever,” AFL general counsel Stephen Meade said. “The AFL is very clear that homophobia has no place in our game.

“We want all people in LGBTQI+ communities to feel safe playing or attending our games and we know the incident that happened on the weekend does not assist this goal."

Port Adelaide accepted the outcome of the AFL’s investigation.

“I unreservedly apologize again to the Essendon player, my teammates, Port Adelaide members and supporters and the LGBTQIA+ community for the distress I have caused,” Finlayson said in a statement.

Last month, North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson was fined 20,000 Australian dollars ($13,250) and given a suspended two-match ban for allegedly using a homophobic slur at St. Kilda defenders Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard during a pre-season game.

In 2022, Australia's National Rugby League suspended New Zealand Warriors winger Marcelo Montoya for four NRL matches after he directed a homophobic slur at a North Queensland player.

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