NRL Press Conference
NRL Press Conference

V’landys vows to get tougher on NRL bad boys

The NRL has finally had enough after yet another off-season of shame and scandal.

Abuse of police officers, high-range drink-driving, a street fight, homophobic slurs and the Mitchell Pearce texting saga have again tarnished the image of footballers and the code, and potentially cost the NRL millions of dollars in sponsorship.

As a result, independent commission chairman Peter V'landys has vowed to get tougher.

There is now a push from within the game to significantly increase fines rather than keep handing out suspensions that, as history shows, are not a big enough deterrent.

"The only way to stop the repeat offenders is by introducing heavy fines," said one CEO.

"A suspension is giving players a fully paid holiday. It hurts the fans, the members, the sponsors, the TV networks, the coach and the teammates but not the actual player."

V'landys is angry the reputation of all footballers suffers from player misbehaviour.

"I want to protect the 99 per cent of players who do the right thing," he said. "There's so much kindness, so much thoughtfulness and selflessness.

"These players don't go looking for publicity. They are genuine. They do great things in the community but they get tarnished because of some boofhead goes out and does the wrong thing.

 

Mitchell Pearce stood down as Knights captain after another off-field incident over summer. Picture: AAP
Mitchell Pearce stood down as Knights captain after another off-field incident over summer. Picture: AAP

 

"All the players I've met are great human beings. These guys do so much that they get no recognition for because it's not what they are about."

It's the one per cent he wants to come down heavily on.

"A very small percentage, like in any part of the community, do the wrong thing," V'landys said. "We are going to get tougher, I can guarantee that.

"There are instances in the past where penalties have been inadequate.

"We'll look at every case on its merits and then take the appropriate action.

"You are never going to totally eradicate it. Human behaviour is human behaviour but you've got to try to minimise it."

 

Broncos prop Payne Haas had a verbal clash with police in January. Picture: Scott Powick
Broncos prop Payne Haas had a verbal clash with police in January. Picture: Scott Powick

 

The Payne Haas case and his disgusting abuse of police officers will be a huge test case for the NRL.

He can show all the remorse he wants and declare: "I take full responsibility."

He can produce every excuse, including the fact he had tough upbringing.

This is a 21-year-old who has had professional support and welfare systems around him as an elite junior and NRL star for years.

At what point are you an adult responsible for your own decisions?

Originally published as V'landys vows to get tougher on NRL bad boys


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