Time To Get Tough

Canterbury Bulldogs and QLD Maroons prop Dylan Napa

NRL, what a complete mess. PeteW72 is back, as he looks at the NRL’s poor handling of incidents in recent years. Should incidents be a blanket permanent ban?

It’s time to get tough and make decisions that will drive a better culture for the future of the game.

As fans, we have witnessed mad Monday shenanigans, the lies and deceit of the coaching merry go round, the Cronulla Sharks and Wests Tigers debacle of recent days.

Of course, we have also seen a string of police charges against stars of our game.

This is not a new phenomenon or the current generations problem. Things of this nature would have occurred in other times. Times without social media and different ideology of what society deemed acceptable.

Over the past few years, we have had players involved in betting, social and performance enhancing drugs scandals, DUI, assaults, sexual and physical abuse.

When will players learn! The NRL needs to set an example and make a statement. For too long, the game has taken a soft stance on off field discretions.

Life or lengthy bans need to be imposed depending on the offence. This may sound harsh but how do we as a game promote itself to all men, woman and children if we take a soft stance.

Wests Tigers forward Michael Chee-Kam

This is the only way that will stop the continuous unsavoury incidents that have plagued our great game.

Players will soon realise that if they misbehave, commit a crime or disrespect woman, they will not have a future in the game.

Easier said than done. After all, we are in the main talking about keeping a lid on young men to make better decisions.

Add alcohol and temptations and it can equal mayhem. Boys will be boys; their just young blokes having fun like they all do, right?

Of course they can and most do it without harm to themselves or others. However, if they know that if they overstep the line which society accepts, they will be punished accordingly.

By setting a tough example, the players will witness first hand their peers being removed from the game, carry the shame of their deeds and see the impact on family as they lose their livelihood and lifestyle.

Young men who will need to adjust from earning hundreds of thousands per year to a modest pay rate working in a real job without the perks and adulation they once had. For some, perhaps even incarcerated.

The majority of players are young men earning extremely good money. Amounts most will never receive in the workforce. Most don’t have higher education or work qualifications to fall back on.

Parramatta Eels utility Jaeman Salmon

Everyone deserves a second chance. Do they? How do we welcome back someone convicted of abuse or assault particularly against a woman? What message and example does that send?

For the current players under investigation or those that have been charged, they have the presumption of innocence until convicted. If convicted, then the administration needs to make the tough call.

This is not an over reaction. Off field incidents impact the game and the clubs and eventually the fans.

A prime example  are the Cronulla Sharks who in recent times have had tremendous success on the field. Yet, they are in financial trouble and without a major sponsor.

It is a shame that a few are ruining the reputation of the many. I feel sorry for the so many great young men and woman involved in the game.

They do not deserve to be associated with the bad reputation the game gets by the off field dramas.

I love Rugby League, watching, reading, talking about it. Just not all the rubbish that goes with it. I am sure I am not alone.

Time to get tough!!

Let me know your thoughts.

Pete Williams

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