How Napa ban could spark more drama
The Rugby League Players' Association says suspending Dylan Napa over the leaking of explicit videos would be unfair and could encourage blackmail or exploitation of players.
The Canterbury recruit is bracing to learn his fate from the NRL after videos of him performing sexual acts were made public last month.
"He's clearly embarrassed, ashamed and having to deal with the anxiety of how that has played out publicly, which is the real punishment in all of this," RLPA chief executive Ian Prendergast told The Sun-Herald.
"We need to remember this occurred five years ago, when a completely different climate existed. We don't think it's fair to hand down a 2019 penalty for something that occurred in 2013."
Prendergast highlighted the need to protect players' right to privacy, respect existing laws and ensure there was no incentive given to those with "an axe to grind" against a player.
"We need to make sure we don't encourage people to breach the law around this stuff. We don't want to get into a situation where we have players being blackmailed or exploited through illegally sharing of private videos," he said.
NRL STORM CONTINUES
The ARL Commission has demanded an end to the plague of off-field scandals after being forced to deliver a life ban to Ben Barba.
The game has lurched from one crisis to the next during a disastrous off-season, leaving administrators counting the damage to the NRL's reputation. On a day when Canterbury pair Dylan Napa and Adam Elliott broke their silence on having fallen from grace, player misbehaviour was at the top of the agenda as the independent commission met at Rugby League Central.
The ARLC had already given CEO Todd Greenberg licence to wield a larger stick, as seen in the precedent set by Barba's banishment.
ARLC chairman Peter Beattie said more needed to be done by all of the game's stakeholders to curb the trend of damaging headlines.
"As a step, we have asked the NRL leadership team to work with clubs, senior players and the (Rugby League Players Association) to take immediate steps to reduce the integrity-related issues we have seen over the last few months," Beattie said.
"We want our game to adopt best practice strategies to mitigate the risk of things going wrong off the field.
"The responsibility for delivering this improvement rests with players, clubs and the NRL." Barba's good mate and former Brisbane great Justin Hodges said while it was a sad situation, the NRL could not tolerate violence against women. Canberra veteranSia Soliola, one of the game's leading role models, said Greenberg had made the right call.
Players were warned before the Christmas break there would be drastic consequences for misbehaving and Soliola has applauded the game's governing boy for sticking to its word.
"The only way people learn is by knowing what boundaries there are," he said. "Collectively, as a game, we've got to protectthe game first and that's what the mindset should be.
"Not only do fans and ourselves lose a quality player but the game misses out. "If we switch our mindsets a little bit andjust think about what we're hurting; I think that will change things a little bit." Soliola, who helps feed the homeless every Monday and recently drove a distraught stranger around the streets to help her look for stolen belongings last year, shavedoff his trademark locks for charity in November.