NRL boss admits changing attitudes tough - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL boss admits changing attitudes tough

12/05/2009 05:58:56 PM Comments (0)

NRL boss David Gallop says rugby league will stamp out sleazy footballers, declaring those not prepared to be role models should get out of the game.

Gallop spoke aggressively about the moral direction of the game after ABC's Four Corners program screened a report that revealed the depravity involved within rugby league sex scandals.

"Being a role model is part and parcel of being a rugby league player. Players who don't want to be part of that need to get out of rugby league," said Gallop.

He admitted much of what was aired was "fundamentally indefensible" and that "violence against women is abhorrent and sexual assault and the degradation of women is just that."

"If anyone in the game today is ignoring the importance of that message then frankly they will need to find another career," he said.

"If you are not on board with the change that we are endeavouring to implement then don't play rugby league."

Gallop admitted there would be more skeletons in rugby league's closet than the allegations aired against Cronulla players from an incident in 2002, but still believes the game has improved its behaviour since the Bulldogs' Coffs Harbour sex scandal of 2004.

However, the NRL has confronted a sexual assault allegation every year since 2004.

Newcastle's Dane Tilse (2005), Wests Tigers' Anthony Laffranchi (2006), Warriors' Michael Crockett (2007), Brisbane's Karmichael Hunt, Sam Thaiday and Darius Boyd (2008) and Manly's Brett Stewart (2009) have all been accused of sexual assault.

Laffranchi, Crockett and Stewart were all charged by police.

Cronulla's Tevita Latu (2006), Greg Bird (2008) and Sydney Roosters' Anthony Cherrington (2008) have all been convicted of assaulting women.

"I have got no doubt that there are issues ... of course it wouldn't surprise me that there may well be other issues that we don't know about," Gallop said.

Gallop said group sex, regardless of consent, should be considered off limits to NRL players.

"It is degrading, appalling. As I have said already, we need to educate our players that that is wrong," he said.

The NRL introduced a series of major initiatives to promote cultural change in 2004 but Gallop accepts he cannot guarantee the message is getting through to all players.

That was certainly apparent when Newcastle under 20s player Simon Williams, during filming by the ABC at one of the NRL programs run at his club, said it was important to treat a female well after group sex to avoid any potential dramas.

"It's not during the act, it's the way you treat them after it," said Williams.

"Most of them could have been avoided if they had put them in a cab and said thanks or that sort of thing, not just kicked her out and called her a dirty whatever.

"It's how you treat them afterwards that can cover a lot of that sort of stuff up."

Gallop said that was the attitude the NRL wanted out of the game.

"His attitude was wrong, one of the reasons that we run these sessions is to flush out that kind of attitude and point out where it is wrong and hopefully he went away realising that his attitude needed to change," said Gallop.

"I can't say that we have got 100 per cent change in attitude, equally we can't measure those who have been to those types of sessions and taken on board what they have heard and gone away and modified their behaviour.

"It's unrealistic to expect that we won't deal with issues off the field from time to time, the important thing is that we deal with them appropriately."

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