Being a "good man" is not a good enough excuse.

There’s no doubt AFL player Bachar Houli is a good bloke.

Described as a “top calibre man” both on and off the field, the Richmond defender and devout Muslim epitomises the kind of role model our young boys need to see.

"There's no doubt AFL player, Bachar Houli is a "good man"." (Image: Getty)

His tireless work as a multicultural player ambassador is indisputable, providing young people within the Muslim community with sporting opportunities and pathways to leadership.

But last Sunday during a regular night at the office, this "good man" did a bad thing.

Striking Carlton's Jed Lamb to the face with an "unintentional" backhanded king hit that left him unconscious, Houli has put us in an uncomfortable position.

Because when a "good man" makes a mistake, we're meant feel empathy, as if it was all just some big misunderstanding. Who are we to abandon him? We need all the "good men" we can get.

"But last Sunday during a regular night at the office, this "good man" did a bad thing." (Image: Getty)

But when it comes to violence, there is no misunderstanding.

Being a "good guy" is not a good enough excuse. Even though, for a moment, it was.

With a character reference from Gold Logie winner Waleed Aly and comments from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the AFL Tribunal heard how this moment of violence was completely and utterly out of the realm of Houli's nature.

It was a "good bloke" defence, paved with honest intentions and genuine remorse. And it worked.

"I've never hit anyone in my life," the veteran AFL player told the tribunal, identifying himself as a "peaceful man" who takes pride in the example he sets for young boys and girls.

Houli's tireless work as a multicultural player ambassador is indisputable. (Image: Getty)

Originally given an unprecedented two-week suspension for a textbook four-week offence, the Tribunal's decision was based on intent.

Houli had not intended to cause physical harm. He expressed immediate remorse for his "unintentional actions", concerned only for the welfare of his victim.

Believing him isn't the hard part. Reconciling what he did with who he is, is the hard part.

But in life, one punch is all it takes.

Fuelled by alcohol on a busy street corner in the early hours of a Sunday morning. Out the front of a hospital where an innocent man was just doing his job. At home, where all women and children have a right to feel safe, but many don't.


For the families of those victimised by acts of violence, knowing the perpetrator was a "good man" won't bring their loved ones back.

This sentiment was echoed by the chairman of the AFL Appeals Board, Peter O'Callaghan QC, who spoke of the defender's "exemplary character deserving of the highest praise" before handing down the final four-week suspension.

"A blow from a person of exemplary character has the same effect as a blow from a person of bad character," he concluded, articulating exactly why Houli's actions matter in spite of his peaceful intentions.

Bachar Houli is still a "good man". He is also a human being, flawed and susceptible to making mistakes under pressure just like everyone else.

"I've never hit anyone in my life," the veteran AFL player told the tribunal. (Image: Getty)

Speaking to reporters after learning his fate, he displayed the "exemplary character" he is so widely known for.

"I accept the decision... my concern is, and always has been, for Jed [Lamb] and I hope he recovers really quickly," he said.

But regardless of character, history or intent, being a good person never has and never will be an acceptable defence for violence of any kind.

The world is full of good people who make a conscious decision to turn away from violence everyday.

But all it takes is one punch from a "good man" to irrevocably change another's life forever.

Do you think one bad act should define a person's character? Why/why not?

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