RUGBY LEAGUE: Rugby League Players Association general president Clint Newton fears the game’s stars will stop mixing with their fans if they can’t be better protected from attempts to extort money or blackmail them.
The Brisbane Broncos have categorically denied the latest reports that one of their players allegedly features in amateur mobile video sniffing white powder in a toilet in Sydney last month.
Reports via news outlets that have seen the video, which is being shopped around for $50,000, say the person in the clip can’t be identified because of its poor quality and it only gives a glimpse of his face.
The NRL’s integrity unit is aware of the latest video doing the rounds, as well as video allegedly featuring Parramatta’s Corey Norman in a sex act. It comes only months after Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce embarrassed himself on Australia Day in another video.
Newton said there was no argument players had to behave better in public and take responsibility for their actions.
“But they also have a right to be protected from predators stalking them with mobile phones and trying to blackmail them or extort money from them by shopping videos to media outlets,” Newton told Australian Regional Media.
“There are huge concerns around what is happening with entrapment, blackmail and extortion.
“This is not just an issue for rugby league, it’s a serious problem for sport across the board and for the community.”
Newton said one of the great things about rugby league was that fans had access to the players.
“The players in our game are so accessible,” he said.
“It would be a huge shame for the fans and the game if that was to change.
“There’s no doubt players are being set up.”
Newton agreed it would help the situation if police were able to lay criminal charges against anyone blackmailing a player or trying to extort money from them.
“There is an appetite within the media for these types of stories, but they also need to be responsible in how they handle each situation,” he said.
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