Napa facing ban as NRL lashes ‘stupidity’
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has broken his silence on the game's off-season of bad behaviour with a strong suggestion Dylan Napa could be suspended before he has played a game for the Bulldogs.
Napa has been at the centre of a sex tape controversy after several explicit videos were released online, understood to have originated from a WhatsApp group from around four years ago.
The 26-year-old former Roosters prop is believed to be devastated and embarrassed, but may not escape punishment for "stupidity".
Napa joined the Bulldogs from the Roosters at the end of last season and is yet to play a game for his new club.
"It could cost [the Bulldogs] a player who hasn't played a game yet. I don't know if it's fair or not, but when the game gets damaged by these sorts of things, you have to react and it doesn't matter when it happens," Greenberg said.
After cutting short his holiday to address the problematic headlines and poor behaviour that have been rampant in the game since the end of last season, Greenberg spoke to the captains of all 16 clubs in a conference call on Monday to lay down the law.
He foreshadowed tougher penalties for bad behaviour and life bans for players found guilty of serious offences against women,Greenberg said he had seen the Napa tapes and was stunned players would put their livelihood and reputations in the hands of others.
"I was gobsmacked by the stupidity," he said.
"The message I gave to the players today was, 'If you put something into a WhatsApp group, we will treat it exactly the same as if you put it on social media. Because the propensity and the likelihood of it to get out publicly is high, if not probable. If you're sending video footage around to other people, what you're doing is putting your whole career, your livelihood and the reputation of the game in other people's hands.
"The person who is distributing the content outside of the WhatsApp group, first of all, that's illegal. The police can deal with that. But trying to use someone sending it on as an excuse, is just that: an excuse. You've got to own it. Take some accountability for what you can control. If it's on WhatsApp, it's the same as Facebook. You've got to own it. If you don't make the content, if you don't film the content, if you don't put it out there, people can't send it on."
In the phone call with club captains, Greenberg is said to have called on the leaders to call out poor behaviour and not look to head office to dish out the punishments.
"If you're a senior player at a club and you're in a WhatsApp group, you can tell the difference between "let's catch up for coffee" to something from over the weekend that's vulgar and inappropriate," he said.
"Don't walk past that: stand up and call someone out for it. Say, 'That's not who we are or what we're about. Let's not do that'. Ten years ago, people thought it was funny. It's not funny and we can't do it."