On a day when we mourn the passing of a true legend of Rugby League, the Immortal Reg Gasnier, once again we see modern day players trashing the legacy created by the likes of Puff The Magic Dragon as Gasnier was so affectionately known.
Incumbent NSW Halfback and Roosters pivot Mitchell Pearce has been involved in an altercation in a night club leading to his arrest and you’ve got to ask what is it going to take before these clowns wake up to themselves? The arguments that they’re just normal blokes, or they live in a fishbowl, or players weren’t subjected to such scrutiny in years gone by, quite frankly just don’t cut it.
There has to be an enforced realisation that when a player signs a contract worth hundreds of thousands of dollars then there is an expectation and a duty of care much higher than we mere mortals, and that expectation must be enforced by the clubs and the Australian Rugby League Commission.
At some point, a line has to be drawn in the sand and players are going to need to be made an example of. We need to start stamping players’ contracts never to play again. A multi-million dollar career in football is a privilege, not a right.
We’re even hearing talks that Blake Ferguson is preparing for a return to the game after his numerous indiscretions. This bloke’s had more chances than a feature on a poker machine and it also ties in to the announcement that David Smith, the head of the NRL will now have unprecedented power and a slush fund to lure players from other codes or prevent so-called big stars from leaving.
We are sending these players a message that they are more important than the game! By allowing Pearce to get away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist or by letting Ferguson take to the field again or by telling Benji Marshall or Israel Folau or Karmichael Hunt that they’re not subject to the salary cap, we’re sending a message that they’re something more than they are, which is overpaid show ponies who are above the very people who afford them their status – the fans and in Mitchell Pearce’s case, maybe long suffering Blues fans can get a halfback that’s up to the task of winning a State of Origin series for NSW