The former Geelong player and radio personality was quizzed by Love Island star Erin Barnett for his “truthful opinion on female footy” when he made the concerning statement.
“I don’t care what your opinion is, I don’t follow footy, I’m just interested to know from footy players what their opinion is,” Barnett posed.
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Furrowing his brow as he approached the question, the sports personality responded: “I still don’t know if girls should play footy, I’m not sure. I don’t know if they’re built to play footy. Not being sexist or anything.”
— #ImACelebrityAU (@ImACelebrityAU) January 8, 2020
Brownless continued: “The other things with girls, they get hurt and they haven’t been taught how to protect themselves properly. They run in and, bang, do a collarbone,” he said, miming a collision.
The first season of the AFL women’s league began in February 2017 with 8 teams, expanding to 10 teams by 2019.
It will expand again to 14 teams this year.
Later in the conversation, Brownless backtracked somewhat, adding that he believes women will eventually learn how to better protect themselves after growing up around the game.
“They will learn all that, because now we are seeing girls who actually grew up with football like we did and bounce a footy.
“You go to games at halftime and there are girls kicking a footy at halftime. You never used to see that,” he said in disbelief, adding: “I can’t believe how passionate the girls are and they just want to learn.”
Following the conversation, host Julia Morris hung her head in mock exhaustion, groaning in frustration, before she joked; “Is it Jurassic Park that I’m listening to? Come, come into the now, baby!
“Oh, look out for my collarbone!,” she added, mockingly bumping in to co-host Dr Chris Brown.
Viewers watching at home had a similar eyeroll reaction to Brownless’ comments:
Oh god. Billy Brownless. Men get hurt playing football too you old sock. #ImACelebrityAU
— Brando 🏳️🌈🐯 (@brando_smith) January 8, 2020
— jessicaemcb (@jessicaemcb) January 8, 2020
Billy Brownless just peeves off female footballers across the world with his Neanderthal “women aren’t built to play football” comment. #ImACelebrityAU
— Nic Woods (@Destiny_NYC) January 8, 2020
— Elizabeth (@MissLizzieZiZi) January 8, 2020
Julia Morris’ reaction/commentary on Billy Brownless’ aflw opinions were PRICELESS and SPOT ON. Watch out for those pesky collarbones lads we’re very fragile #ImACelebrityAU
— Sophie Taylor 💫 (@sophieettaylor) January 8, 2020
I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! continues Thursday night from 7.30pm on Ten.