It’s just not a week in the NRL without some sort of scandal, is it? And this week, we have three for the price of one!
Over last weekend alone, Cronulla chairman Damian Keogh, Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall, New Zealand skipper Jesse Bromwich and Gold Coast's Kevin Proctor were all allegedly involved in incidents with the illicit substance, cocaine.
Koegh was found “with a small resealable bag containing a white substance at a Woolloomooloo pub”, Kenny-Dowall was “caught by police in possession of 0.46 grams of the drug” and Bromwich and Proctor were both “too drunk” to remember taking the drugs in Canberra nightclub.
Keogh addressed the media on Monday morning, stating, "It's been a very challenging weekend but it gives me a greater appreciation of what a lot of our players go through when they have issues”.
Keogh feels sorry for players who end up embroiled in drug scandals, getting their names and, by extension, their clubs and their families dragged into papers across the nation.
Of course, there is one very simple way for NRL players to not become a walking headline and potentially throw their careers into jeopardy: Don’t take drugs.
This should go for prescription pills and alcohol as well – but day in, day out, it’s the same problem, just a different NRL player.
But to simply tell these “men” not to go out on the booze all night or not to buy little bags with white powder in them won’t be enough.
Footy players are never going to be saints.
What the NRL needs to do is have set rules across the board regarding illegal and excessive drug and alcohol use because at this point in time, the punishment does not fit the crime. And where is the NRL’s Integrity Unit in all of this?
Whilst Keogh has stood down from his position and we are yet to hear from the Roosters what will happen to Kenny-Dowall but Bromwich and Proctor, I believe, have simply been given slaps on the wrist.
Bromwich has stepped down as captain of the Kiwis and the Storm’s leadership program but will only miss two club games. Proctor has stood down as co-captain of the Titans but at the time of publication, we don’t know how many games he will miss.
Cut their pay, keep them on the sidelines, fire them – someone needs to do something drastic because far too many players take their careers for granted.