Greenberg’s warning for NRL bad boys
A fed-up Todd Greenberg issued a warning to the NRL's bad boys to curb their ways or face being banned from the game as he promised to hand down the toughest penalties seen in the game's history. Greenberg took the extraordinary lengths to summon club captains to a morning telephone hook-up after the NRL boss cut short his holiday break to address an off-season he described as the worst he had seen.
During the unprecedented 25-minute phone briefing which included club bosses and forced some players to break from training, Greenberg left little doubt about his thoughts on recent events.
"The clear message was I don't want to see people blaming others," Greenberg said. "What I don't want to see is people always looking for who is sending out the message or why is the media writing about it. It has nothing to do with anybody else but ourselves. We have to own it and have accountability. This issue starts and finishes with us.
"I made sure every single captain left that phone call and at some point sat with their entire squads.
"I know young players in teams and even experienced players, the person they listen most to is their captain and senior players in the club.
"Don't look at historical punishments. Don't look at what we've done previously. The penalties are going to get harder and tougher. Players will be spending longer out of the game for misbehaviour. I can't make it any clearer."
Veterans Cameron Smith and Matt Scott were the most vocal with Smith telling his cohorts little good could come from filming videos for Whatsapp groups.
The list of NRL players to front court in coming weeks is extensive. Serious accusations have been levelled against the likes of Jarryd Hayne, Jack de Belin and Dylan Walker for offences against women while Zane Musgrove, Tautau Moga and Michael Chee-Kam also have upcoming court appearances.
"We have to allow processes to take their place especially issues that are in the court of law," Greenberg said. "We have some very serious charges applied to players. I won't talk about those individually. They are very serious charges.
"If players are found guilty of those types of conduct then what they will lose is their livelihood and their opportunity to play in the game. I can't make it any clearer than that. There are some issues I have seen which are childish, idiotic, stupid and they are the sort of things you can't sit by and let happen. That was my message to the players.
"I'm determined it won't happen again. If we have to go have bigger on deterrents and punishment on players then so be it.
"If players are convicted of criminal offences that have violence against women, that will now sit at the very highest scale. We have historically not put the words life bans in place but what we do is we simply take people's registration off them and we don't allow them to participate.
"How long they spend out of the game will be determined down the track. I can't make it any clearer if you are found guilty of these criminal offences there is no place in the game for you."
The NRL will allow clubs to hand down provisional punishments before the governing body intervenes if it believes the sanctions are weak.
Greenberg confirmed the NRL integrity unit is investigating explicit videos involving Dylan Napa. While no police complaint has been made against Napa, the Canterbury recruit could be punished for the reputational damage the leaked videos have caused the game.
"I don't want to talk about the specifics of each of those videos because the integrity unit will deal with those," Greenberg said.
"In general terms, players that are putting video messages together and sending them on to Whatsapp groups we will treat those exactly the same as if someone had posted it on a website or put it up on social media.
"The reason being, the propensity for that to get out is extremely high as has been seen in the last week or two. If you are stupid enough to put ridiculously dumb or inappropriate video content up and it gets shared by others, then you can put your livelihood in the hand of others."