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Footy players were asked "why do so many of you treat women like s**t?". Here's what they said.

In a TV show full of uncomfortable questions for footy players, there was one that fired up former NRL champion Willie Mason.

Speaking on ABC's You Can't Ask That on Thursday night, Mason, along with other former NRL and AFL players including Ian Roberts, Todd Carney, Dean Widders, Jude Bolton, Brock McLean and Dan Jackson, were faced with the question: "Why do so many of you treat women like s***?"

"How do so many... that's bulls***," Mason said, reading the question card.

"There's over 1000 people that play this game. You're talking about five people."

Watch: Former footballers on You Can't Ask That. Post continues below video.


Video via ABC.

Mason then called for more serious repercussions for players who do disrespect or harm women.

He recalled seeing a video of an NRL player degrading a woman during a sexual act, suggesting there were double standards where Carney lost her job after his infamous 'bubbler' incident while this player continues to play.

"That guy who filmed that girl, putting his foot on her head, spitting on her," Mason said. "The disrespect I saw in that video made me sick and I see some pieces of s**t playing our game right now.

"Todd Carney, on the other hand, just pissed his own mouth and got his contract ripped up, and I don't think that's fair.

"I just don't think the repercussions are big enough."

Todd Carney on You Can't Ask That. Image: ABC.

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Mason said any player convicted of domestic violence should face a lifetime ban.

"If you do anything like that you're sacked. Not have six months off and you're welcomed back in the back door and playing NRL. No, you're done.

"If you were like that and in a club and you said something to a woman that I didn't like, then I would call them a f***wit."

Former Parramatta Eels star Dean Widders said the same.

"If you hit a woman and stuff like that, well, there should be a black mark through your name straightaway.

"There's a lot of times where people will accept things because a person can throw or kick a football better than someone else. And I think we've got to look past those achievements in the sporting arena and look at the behaviour of some of the people and just go, 'Well, that's not acceptable'."

Widders said football culture often used being around and with a lot of women as a way of showing off, which was unacceptable. 

He said further women's involvement was needed right across the levels of rugby league.

All the players said they could think back to times where they'd seen or been part of this culture of disrespect.

"Situations like that where guys have been overly sexual in their actions towards women, I just wish I'd been the person I should've been," Ian Roberts said.

Former AFL player Dan Jackson said change needed to come from within the sporting community, where those involved held each other accountable for their words and actions.

Elsewhere in the episode, the player's tackled questions about numerous issues in sport including racism, homophobia, mental health, eating disorders, concussions and traumatic brain injuries and the challenge of life after football.

You can watch the full You Can't Ask That - Ex-footballers episode on ABC iview.

Feature image: ABC.