TOUGH CALL: Greg Bird has had some off-field drama in his career.
TOUGH CALL: Greg Bird has had some off-field drama in his career. DAVE HUNT

The rot needs to stop

SHORT PASS: A couple of years ago my stance on the off-field behaviour of professional rugby league players was a lot different.

I was a staunch believer in the boys will be boys mentality and the way I figured it was if they were not hurting anyone then really, who cares?

But enough is enough.

The latest spate of alleged off-field antics is evidence that players are simply not getting it.

I am not sure if it is because the NRL does not have the appropriate support measures in place to help these guys or if it is an inherent and unchangeable arrogance that these players possess.

What they are doing now is really starting to effect how the general public view rugby league.

Recently it has been reported Greg Bird has allegedly parted ways with the Gold Coast after yet another alcohol fuelled indiscretion.

Meanwhile the dynamic duo of Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray have made headlines again after an alleged incident in Thailand that is now the subject of an NRL Integrity Unit inquiry.

You might remember Walker and Gray were in the headlines after overdosing on prescription pain medication previously.

The former incident almost cost the pair not only their lives but also their professional contract.

An excuse that is often used to justify the behaviour of these guys is that they are 'under the microscope' or they are too heavily scrutinised.

The reality is I do not know any other profession, outside of the realm of professional sports people, that would tolerate this kind of behaviour and get away with it for so long.

Professionals in any other industry would be sacked on the spot if they behaved the way these players do on occasion.

In my view they act like spoilt children, put on a pedestal, told they are world beaters and given a heap of cash.

Honestly the NRL has to take a hard line with this.

The advent of the integrity unit is a step in the right direction but unless they start rolling heads, they are redundant.

I am all for due process but there has to be a level of transparency in their investigation.

The public needs to know what incidences are being investigated and they need to know the outcome of those investigations.

Not because player's civil liberties are to be impeded but because we need to know that the product we are watching and investing in is true and accurate.

If players are being investigated and still running around, and administrators are not being completely honest, then it stands to reason that fans will lose faith in the game.

I know that it is only a handful of players and I am aware that the majority of professional players are upstanding role models, but as they say, it only takes one to ruin it for everyone.

Gympie Times

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