The comments from former rugby league player Steve Mortimer have attracted criticism.
The comments from former rugby league player Steve Mortimer have attracted criticism.

Legend says ‘young ladies’ share blame for sex tape scandals

RUGBY league legend Steve Mortimer believes sole blame shouldn't be placed on the NRL players who have found themselves in trouble in the off-season.

Mortimer was speaking about the game's off-field troubles in an interview with ABC News on Thursday when he said while the instances of sex tapes were a bad look, it could also be the "young ladies" who were involved.

"When you go out you've got to look after each other and rather then try crack on to the girls or whatever, do what you have to do and then go home," Mortimer said.

"Obviously they're human beings as well, but look I just think it's not just the players. I think it can also be the young ladies that are looking for a little bit of notice, that 'I'm being taken out by a certain great rugby league player', and I think that's wrong."

While ex-NRL star Luke Lewis was applauded for his hard-nosed stance against "grubs" in rugby league, Mortimer's comments were widely criticised on social media.

Mortimer said he didn't have an answer to solve the league's problems, but all clubs could do "with a lot more ambassadors to settle the players down".

"Today I went and saw a bloke that I absolutely respect in the game of rugby league, and won't say who he is, but he showed me this on his iPhone and I just could not believe it that they were having sex," he said.

"I just thought, how embarrassing is that to yourself and it should never be done. Should never be shown that way."

Mortimer's comments came after Penrith defended its culture amid the NRL sex tape scandal that resulted in Tyrone May being stood down.

Just 10 days out from their season-opener, the Panthers are a club under siege after the release of four sex tapes over the past week involving three players.

Former NSW Origin coach Laurie Daley had lashed the western Sydney club earlier this week, saying he wouldn't want his son playing for the Panthers - however, he has backtracked on his comments.

After copping criticism from Penrith greats Mark Geyer and Greg Alexander, Daley reneged on his comments on Thursday's Big Sports Breakfast radio program.

The NRL stood May down indefinitely after he was charged with two counts of recording an intimate image without consent, and two counts of disseminating an image without consent.

On Thursday, a legal challenge by Jack de Belin was held over in the Federal Court because the NRL had not yet drafted its "no fault" stand-down rules.

Tyrone May faces police charges.
Tyrone May faces police charges.

Effectively, it means de Belin and May are not suspended - but that will change when the NRL finally signs off on the rules, which is expected to happen in the next 48 hours.

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary used the club's season launch on Wednesday to claim that those knocking the club's culture were doing so because of jealousy.

Co-captain Isaah Yeo said the club's critics were doing so from afar and didn't have an insight into their values.

"A lot of the time, it's people on the outside looking in," Yeo said at Thursday's NRL season launch in Bondi.

"We're very confident in the culture that we've got.

"The people that are saying that don't know the community, they don't know the town, the surrounding area and what it consists of. I'm very confident in the culture we've got."

Yeo said if there was any club well placed to pull through the adversity of a distracting off-field scandal, it was the Panthers' group.

"We're a tight-knit bunch. It's not an ideal situation but we've come through the grades together. A lot of the boys are tight friends who went to school together, played Harold (Matthews Cup), SG Ball," Yeo said.

"I think if there was a team to come through this off-field adversity, it's us. We've got the friendships there to help us through it.

"Coming through the grades, they form that bond."

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