Matt Lodge: Take your second chance and ‘pay up’

Mary Konstantopoulos Columnist

By Mary Konstantopoulos, Mary Konstantopoulos is a Roar Expert

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    Matt Lodge's return to the NRL is rather controversial. (AAP Image/David Clark)

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    When I was younger, I had very strong and stubborn views on what should happen to rugby league players that misbehaved.

    Players that had been convicted of serious offences were not welcome in our game and I particularly had a problem with players that had been convicted of offences against women.

    Allowing these players to have a second chance reflected poorly on the game I loved so much, and when it came to offences involving women, allowing players to have a second chance demonstrated that women in the game were not taken seriously and that initiatives like ‘women in league’ round, were tokenistic.

    My views on this topic began to change a couple of years ago when players like Manu Ma’u and Danny Wicks joined the team I supported so passionately. I had to reconcile what they had done off the field, in the past, with the positive contribution they were making to my team on the field. This didn’t necessarily just mean the way they played footy, but also the leadership roles and commitment they were showing to their fans and community off the field.

    Here’s what I learnt while trying to reconcile those players past with their present.

    People are not perfect.

    Our rugby league players are a reflection of the society in which we live so societal problems like violence towards women, gambling and alcohol will always, to an extent be reflected in our game. This does not make it right nor excuse this behaviour but is something we should keep in mind when using lone incidents of player misbehaviour as an excuse to tarnish an entire code.

    But most importantly, I learnt that not all players had been afforded the opportunities that I had had growing up. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that ate dinner together most nights of the week and where education was of utmost importance. I was fortunate enough to study at university, to want for very little and to have felt encouraged and supported not just during my childhood but still now, into adulthood.

    Not everyone is so fortunate and for some of our players, rugby league truly is an opportunity to change their lives and to reverse some of the difficult situations faced by these players growing up.

    Some of our players will make mistakes along the way, but as I have heard Todd Greenberg say several times – rugby league is a game that gives players a second opportunity. It is not a game that will give players opportunity after opportunity after opportunity, but it will give players a chance to learn from their mistakes and use the privilege afforded to them through rugby league to make a change not just to their own lives but also positively impact their communities.

    Whenever I am confronted with a circumstance where a player has made an exceptionally poor error of judgement, that’s the framework I try to think about it in.

    It doesn’t make it any easier though, particularly when confronted by the circumstances surrounding a player like Matt Lodge.

    Lodge made his return to the NRL just over a week ago when he played for the Brisbane Broncos in a trial against the Gold Coast Titans.

    His return has sparked plenty of raw emotion from many fans but also plenty of anger following an incident back in 2015 where Lodge avoided jail time following a series of off field-discretions, the most serious of all seeing him terrorise a group of strangers in their homes one evening in the United States.

    Following the incident, Lodge was given a conditional discharge by a New York court as part of a plea deal which included him completing community service and doing some work in the anger and alcohol management space. In the period since the incident and his return to the NRL, Lodge has also become a father, is completing a university course and is working with young people on the impacts of alcohol and the consequences of misbehaviour.

    These are all great steps, but what makes me exceptionally uncomfortable about Lodge is that, following a civil lawsuit brought against him by the people he terrorised that night back in 2015, where the court ordered Lodge to pay them $1.56 million in damages, Lodge has not paid a cent to his victims.

    Many have said that the amount ordered by the court is too far beyond Lodge’s reach and that he has written to his victims to apologise.

    But so often we make the case for players returning to the NRL that they have abided by the court system – a court and justice system that has a job of punishment and rehabilitation at the same time.

    Lodge has not done this and even if the amount is well beyond his means, I would like to see Lodge taking some steps (no matter how small) to repay these victims, no matter how long it takes, particularly now that he is on an NRL contract.

    I am unaware of the contract situation between Lodge and the Brisbane Broncos, but given Greenberg’s recent commentary about the NRL not being in the business of telling players how to spend their money, I think it is unlikely that the Broncos will be requiring him to use some of his player salary to support the victims impacted by Lodge’s behaviour back in 2015.

    Todd Greenberg and Wayne Bennett are in favour of bringing Matt Lodge back into the NRL.

    As challenging as Lodge’s past behaviour is to accept, one of my favourite things about rugby league is that it truly does offer people a chance to change their lives and make a difference through their ability to contribute to a club and community both on and off the field.

    In the case of Matt Lodge, I hope he recognises how fortunate he is to have rugby league and a be part of a game that is so willing to give second chances.

    I want to see Lodge take steps over the next couple of years to not only change his life, but also to begin to pay back the money he so owes his victims.

    But if he slips up again, he should know that the rugby league community may not be so forgiving a second time.

    Mary Konstantopoulos
    Mary Konstantopoulos

    Mary Konstantopoulos is a lawyer, sports advocate and proud owner and founder of the Ladies Who empire, including Ladies who League, Ladies who Legspin, Ladies who Lineout and Ladies who Leap. You can find her podcast on iTunes and find her on Twitter @mary__kaye and @ladieswholeague.

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    The Crowd Says (104)

    • February 26th 2018 @ 7:39am
      Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 7:39am | ! Report

      This is one of those matters that requires both sides to be reasonable.

      Obviously $1.6 million is a stupid sum that far exceeds the damage that Lodge caused (unless there were some priceless artworks in that apartment that he destroyed). A more reasonable sum would be less than one tenth of that amount.

      Lodge can simply avoid making any significant payment to the other parties by becoming bankrupt. He is only young, so he probably diesn’t have a significant asset base, he isn’t highly paid and has one or two dependants, so bankruptcy probably wouldn’t be very disrupting for him. After 3 years, he would be able to resume his financial life, by which time he will probably be in a position to command 3 times the salary he does now. If I was his accountant or lawyer, that is what I would advise him to do.

      Accordingly, the other parties need to be reasonable in terms of how much of that judgment they seek to enforce. They certainly deserve something, and the relatively light criminal sentence the Lodge received is not just reflective of the relatively minor nature of the offence (when compared to assaults that inflict serious injury), but also of the fact that Lodge was quite young and had an unblemished record. The last two shouldn’t affect civil compensation.

      Lodge should pay something, but the other side need to come to the table to work out what that should be.

      • Columnist

        February 26th 2018 @ 9:44am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | February 26th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        Gray-Hand, I’m glad you raised this point because it’s one I decided not to include in the article.

        I agree that $1.6 million dollars is a lot of money, but is it not a case of once you head to a particular country you need to abide by their laws + accept their punishments? The US system is known for being one that hands out significant pecuniary penalties, particularly in civil cases.

        Just like I would argue that the penalties in Indonesia for drug trafficking are excessive…

        • February 26th 2018 @ 10:28am
          Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          Bankruptcy works in a similar way in the United States (insolvency laws are one of the areas that most countries try to achieve some degree of comity in order to let the globalised economy work), so the outcome would be the same if Lodge were to resolve the matter according to American law.

      • February 26th 2018 @ 10:03am
        Alex said | February 26th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jul/08/matthew-lodge-former-wests-tigers-props-alleged-victims-recount-rampage-in-court

        He stalked them to their home, invaded their home, assaulted numerous people, caused extensive damage and assaulted NYPD officers.

        I don’t think 1.6 million is at all an unfair sum and 1/10th of that would be a joke. He was a violent thug who terrorised multiple people and should be punished accordingly. As of now he hasn’t been punished at all.

        He may well have undergone counselling, and works in alcohol and anger management, thats all fine and dandy, however it is nothing to his victims. They’re left with the physical damage bill, the health bill, the mental health and suffering bill etc…

        The man should be paying up. Second chances or not, I don’t think he should be incarcerated or something like that but he needs to own up to his own appalling behaviour and make it up to his victims as best he can.

        • Roar Guru

          February 26th 2018 @ 11:32am
          Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

          It should be noted that the $1.6 mil is split between 3 seperate individuals too.

          I’m not going to argue that its too much, at the end of the day its what he was setenced with. I do however think that far too much weight has been put into the “he hasn’t paid a cent” accusation while there has next to nothing said about any arrangements or stipulations around how he is supposed to have paid this sum. Nothing has been said suggesting that he never intends to pay it off yet that seems to be general concensus. As Grey-Hand brought out, if he didn’t intend to pay any of it he could easily claim bankruptcy. .
          It should also be noted that the guy has been practically unemployed since mid 2015 and had a $100,000 legal bill from the first case to pay off and was unable to defend himself for the civil case as he couldn’t afford the extra legal fees. There’s been a lot of missinformation spread around this story and the vast majority of the medias input seems to be focused on generating outrage rather then telling the full story

          • February 26th 2018 @ 3:18pm
            loosehead said | February 26th 2018 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

            So whose fault is it that he has been unemployed since 2015? Perhaps if he didn’t get hammered, destroy property, threaten people, assault police officers he wouldn’t have a $100,000.00 legal bill and he would have been playing in the NRL for the last 2 years.

            • Roar Guru

              February 26th 2018 @ 4:00pm
              Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

              do you have a point mate? I don’t see anyone on this forum defending his actions and the comment you replied to was dealing with his ability to pay the civil suit damages

              • February 26th 2018 @ 4:13pm
                loosehead said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

                Sure, you stated that he has been practically unemployed since the court case. So if he didn’t act like a goose in the first place he wouldn’t have been unemployed, and he wouldn’t have been arrested he wouldn’t have to pay legal fees or million dollar fines and like I said he would have spent the last two years playing rugby league.

              • Roar Guru

                February 26th 2018 @ 4:26pm
                Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

                Literally no one is argueing that. What’s the point you’re trying to highlight?

              • Roar Guru

                February 26th 2018 @ 8:16pm
                Rabbitz said | February 26th 2018 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

                I would suggest that the point may well be, that, in life you get to make decisions. When those decisions are so stupid as to cause harm to others, then you forfeit the right to complain about the consequences.

                Legal bills and unemployment are part and parcel of deciding to commit such acts and should not be taken as mitigating factors regarding the severity of punishments.

              • Roar Guru

                February 26th 2018 @ 8:53pm
                Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

                No one’s suggesting they are mitigating factors though, and the comment loosehead chose to reply to specifically states that I’m not questioning the severity of the punishment.

                That doesn’t mean there should be unreasonable expectations around the timing of the repayment of a massive sum of money based on public perceptions (or misconceptions) though

        • February 26th 2018 @ 1:42pm
          Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

          “The victims are left with the physical damage bill, the health bill, the mental health and suffering bill etc…”

          Physical damage bill: let’s shoot for the moon and say $100k
          Health bill: Bruises. Really bad ones. $5,000
          Mental health and suffering bill: err, $1.5 million apparently?

          Seems a bit high.

          • February 26th 2018 @ 1:58pm
            Cathar Treize said | February 26th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

            It is America after all

          • February 26th 2018 @ 4:05pm
            Mushi said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

            Based on your detailed knowledge of the facts and a comprehensive psychiatric assessment of the victims I take it…

            I think it was something like 1m in punitive (Mary is using AUD) across everyone.

            • February 26th 2018 @ 7:19pm
              Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

              Based on:

              1. my close perusal of hundreds of judgments and expert reports involving claims involving psychiatric injury;
              2. Advising clients in relation to same; and
              3. Drafting and delivering both written and oral submissions on the subject to judges and other decision makers.

      • Roar Guru

        February 26th 2018 @ 10:10am
        The Barry said | February 26th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        Really well said Gray-Hand.

        Has Lodge been able to earn any sort of income since the court case? How would he pay it off?

        1.6M is outrageous and doesn’t reflect the actual damages caused.

        • February 26th 2018 @ 11:04am
          Mushi said | February 26th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

          On your last statement though Barry a judge (who presumably has a lot more evidence than you or I) disagrees with your statement so it perhaps isn’t as self evident as you think.

          • Roar Guru

            February 26th 2018 @ 11:17am
            The Barry said | February 26th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

            Fair enough, but on that basis no one can ever disagree with any ruling in any court, tribunal, judiciary, etc ever.

            • February 26th 2018 @ 11:27am
              Oingo Boingo said | February 26th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

              He can lay bricks .

            • February 26th 2018 @ 2:31pm
              mushi said | February 26th 2018 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

              Come on Barry it clearly doesn’t mean that. And you’re being petulant suggesting it does.

              Yes you can disagree with a decision but to make the presentation of that disagreement rational you need to give something to support it right?

              You presented it as a self-evident truth

              • February 26th 2018 @ 3:10pm
                mushi said | February 26th 2018 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                Case in point I haven’t read the ruling but a shot in the dark on the limited facts I know.

                One of them is a child and he’s caused them significant trauma (ie they are fearing for their life clinging to their parent), then you’re going to easily find many many experts that will say that trauma is likely to manifest itself not only in reduced enjoyment of life in generally but a reduced earning capacity.

                You then don’t need to ascribe much per year of a child’s life expectancy to either of those aspects to get to a large figure.

              • Roar Guru

                February 26th 2018 @ 4:40pm
                The Barry said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

                For 1.6M Lodge can come over to my place any time he likes…

          • February 26th 2018 @ 12:39pm
            Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

            The case was undefended. The Judge basically only had the evidence from one side. Of course the judgment was unbalanced.

            • February 26th 2018 @ 2:42pm
              mushi said | February 26th 2018 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

              1. Was the case undefended because he was physically denied the right to defend himself or because he chose not to defend the claim? If it is the later then you are tacitly arguing that if you chose not to defend yourself you can never be held to account which is a great way for society to move forward.

              2. So you are making the claim you have more evidence than the judge and are able to make a better assessment of the damage caused because that was my point. Barry. Without presenting a single word of supporting evidence made the claim that the findings of the judge were outrageous.

              • Roar Guru

                February 26th 2018 @ 4:02pm
                Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

                it was undefended because he couldn’t afford the legal expences required

              • February 26th 2018 @ 4:07pm
                Mushi said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

                So how much was he offering in his good faith negotiations if he couldn’t afford any legal expenses…

              • February 26th 2018 @ 4:44pm
                Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

                It is also worth noting that claims such as this are often run on a no win no fee basis by plaintiff lawyers who take their fees from the judgment amount.

                Impecunious Defendants like Lodge can’t get no win no fee retainer agreements because there is no pot of gold at the end of the case for them to be paid out of.

        • February 26th 2018 @ 3:51pm
          loosehead said | February 26th 2018 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

          As I replied to another Guru on this forum, just whose fault is it that he has been unemployed since 2015.

          • Roar Guru

            February 26th 2018 @ 4:46pm
            The Barry said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

            And as that person said to you that’s irrelevant.

            I agree that it’s his own fault that he hasn’t been employed since 2015 but whether it’s his fault, my fault, your fault or the flying spaghetti monster’s fault it’s difficult to pay back a vast sum of money when you aren’t earning an income.

            So on one hand you’re bagging him for not paying anything back but then on the other denying the best (only?) opportunity he has to pay them back.

            Anyone thick enough to get hung up on guru status usually doesn’t have a leg to stand on…

            • February 26th 2018 @ 10:04pm
              RM said | February 26th 2018 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

              Well said, TB

      • February 27th 2018 @ 7:41pm
        damo said | February 27th 2018 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

        Hope you are never on the end of what Lodge dished out.
        Let me assure you, there will never be enough money to repair your damaged psyche but some of it will help you overcome the inability to work again because you can’t bring yourself to leave the sanctuary of your well secured home (beecause normal security clearly wasn’t enough against Lodge).

        Here’s a link just in case you forgot or never knew:

        http://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/former-wests-tigers-player-matthew-lodge-pleads-guilty-in-us-court-20151223-glu81g.html

        Do the crime, do the time ?

        Lodge avoided gaol on the basis of the compensation payment. Gaol time for his felony charges that were dropped in return for the guilty plea would have seen him do at the very least 12 months & most likely more.

        In addition, he assaulted police, so I don’t know about you but in my book that in itself should be a serious enough matter to spend some quality time in a place where you have plenty of time to consider your actions.

        Lodge got off easy, he could have killed someone, or, in a trigger happy nation like the US, been killed by victim in self defence or the police.

        Come to the table ?
        Make a genuine attempt at reparation or the table should be the communal mess table in a supermax where I’m sure there are far more psychotic people on a permanent basis than Lodge ever was.

        • February 27th 2018 @ 8:47pm
          elvis said | February 27th 2018 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

          I’m sick of people carrying on that they somehow can’t ever work again because someone bad happened to them. How come they never say they can’t party again or do fun things again? It always seems to be work.
          Lodge didn’t kill anyone, he barely even hurt anyone. And if someone goes into a lifelong funk because they got yelled at, that’s their problem.

    • February 26th 2018 @ 7:47am
      Onside said | February 26th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      Ah Mary, but as a lawyer, you if defending Matt Lodges appeal , might argue that ,
      ‘on the other hand’, the fine was excessive .

      I do not in anyway disagree with the spirit of your article, only point out that firstly ,
      if Lodge had access to the money, and secondly, then spent it on lawyers ,he would
      probably have a Pyrrhic victory.

      • Roar Rookie

        February 26th 2018 @ 8:46am
        Gaz said | February 26th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        +1
        Well said. I have read most of the articles regarding this player and consider a case of sour grapes due to his loss from southern clubs and the fact the Broncos have chosen to give him another chance.

        It will be interesting to read those same writers opinions if or when he is selected to play for NSW.

        • Columnist

          February 26th 2018 @ 9:45am
          Mary Konstantopoulos said | February 26th 2018 @ 9:45am | ! Report

          Gaz, my article has nothing to do with sour grapes.

          If/when he is selected to play for NSW then I will feel exactly the same way and argue that he would have even greater capacity to repay his victims.

          This is a generalisation, but I think as a female fan I have a lot greater difficulty separating the player on the field from the player off it. Just because a player is outstanding on the field does not justify poor behaviour off it.

          • Roar Rookie

            February 26th 2018 @ 10:22pm
            Gaz said | February 26th 2018 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

            If/when he is selected for NSW I will look forward to a similar article from you.

          • February 27th 2018 @ 7:59am
            Buddy Holly said | February 27th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

            If he does indeed play Origin, they will need to check his wristbands…

        • Roar Guru

          February 26th 2018 @ 10:12am
          The Barry said | February 26th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          Typical paranoia.

          I haven’t read a single article about Lodge that shows any sort of ‘southern’ bias. There are Queensland and Broncos fans that are just as angry about his signing as any southerner.

          To be honest I find people forming their opinions along club lines on issues like this to be pretty childish.

      • February 26th 2018 @ 2:55pm
        Birdy said | February 26th 2018 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

        “A pyrrhic victory”,
        As we all head for our Googleometter.
        Yes, but Mr lawyer sir,I lost my house, my wife left me and my kids don’t even want to know me .
        Yes, sayes the lawyer, but you won the case, you can rip up your parking fine,

    • February 26th 2018 @ 8:56am
      Duncan Smith said | February 26th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      The amount of 1.5 million is absurd. Who could pay that? A reasonable amount and he might have paid some by now.

      • Columnist

        February 26th 2018 @ 9:46am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | February 26th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        But he hasn’t paid any of it – perhaps if he had shown some willingness to come to the table there could have been some negotiation.

        Lodge committed a crime and the penalty has been decided by a court of law. I don’t think it is appropriate that he can just decide not to pay.

        • February 26th 2018 @ 10:31am
          Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          it has been reported that he did offer to pay them an amount, but they rejected it.

          • February 26th 2018 @ 11:09am
            Mushi said | February 26th 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

            An undisclosed amount…

            • Roar Guru

              February 26th 2018 @ 11:57am
              Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

              He offered to take out a loan to pay what he could afford but the lawyers clients were worried that they’d miss out on more money if he got back into the NRL

              • February 26th 2018 @ 2:57pm
                mushi said | February 26th 2018 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

                So he offered to pay them substantially less than what he owes them and they said no because they believed he could pay closer to what he owes them?

                Well gee that’s never happened before in the history of mankind….

              • Roar Rookie

                February 26th 2018 @ 3:41pm
                William Dalton Davis said | February 26th 2018 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

                They most likely heard Australian sporting Star and assumed he’d be getting on a multi mil pa deal. Unfortunately the NRL isn’t quite the NBA.

              • Roar Guru

                February 26th 2018 @ 4:18pm
                Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

                Mushi, don’t twist the story to fit yours. He offered compensation, they rejected it and pursued the civil case because they belived they could get more.

                I find it really odd that people are using the as yet unpaid $1.6 mil figure as a reason he shouldn’t be playing when that figure was reached on the assumption that he’d be a contracted player.

            • February 26th 2018 @ 12:25pm
              Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

              Settlement negotiations are almost always confidential. So it would be inappropriate for either side to disclose the figures.

              But it is inaccurate and unfair to Lodge to suggest that he hasn’t been willing to negotiate.

              • February 26th 2018 @ 2:53pm
                mushi said | February 26th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                That same confidentially makes it completely disingenuous to infer that the mere existence of an offer means that it was an offer that the other side would find reasonable.

                The only piece of reliable information we have regarding his offer was that the other side found it unacceptable. That is the only fact we are dealing with. Your inference it shows a genuine attempt to make amends for his actions is unfounded in fact.

                Also the victims have no legal compulsion to negotiate. Inferring they are some how unreasonable for accepting the decision of the court is ridiculous.

              • February 26th 2018 @ 4:22pm
                Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

                Nah Mushi. The only fact we were dealing with was whether or not Lodge had been willing to negotiate. Mary thought he hadn’t and I pointed out that he had.

                Then I think you started calling people disingenuous and making inferences that exist only in your head, for some reason. Odd.

          • March 7th 2018 @ 12:20pm
            Jacko said | March 7th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

            So if convicted of a crime and sentenced to 10 years I could just offer to serve 1 and they have no right to reject my offer?

    • Roar Rookie

      February 26th 2018 @ 9:30am
      josh said | February 26th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      The US system by-and-large adopts a payment as the punishment. Hence the high civil payouts. It’s meant to act as deterrent.

      Still what is it gronks playing NRL? And why does the NRL have to act as a halfway house or rehabilitation clinic?

      I’m banged on about this before, but this is all classic Bennett. “He’s a good bloke now/ turned his life around”. How? By behaving like a normal person. wow…

      • Columnist

        February 26th 2018 @ 9:48am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | February 26th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        Josh, I think it’s a bit unfair to label the NRL as a halfway house or rehabilitation clinic… There are certainly some players that are using rugby league as a second chance to change their lives, but it certainly isn’t even close to a majority of players.

        As always, it is the stories about the players that occupy the most media attention and are the ones that spring to mind first when people thing about rugby league.

        Agree re your last point though – it takes far more than ‘being a good bloke’ to turn these stories into one of redemption.

    • Roar Guru

      February 26th 2018 @ 9:30am
      Nat said | February 26th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      It is interesting that you came to terms with your idealistic notions when Parra contracted those players you mentioned. Does that mean you would still have your soapbox of moral standards if Parra employed ‘Corey the Christian’ over Ma’u? As fans we support our clubs (without always agreeing/understanding their decisions) but the person in the jersey is interchangeable. I’m sorry Mary, you know I like your work 95% of the time but this one just appears quite self serving to implore someone to follow the path they have already committed too to justify the lowering of your personal standards. .

      • Columnist

        February 26th 2018 @ 9:51am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | February 26th 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        Nat, thanks for your comment. And not need to apologise – you certainly don’t have to agree with me all the time.

        I think when I was younger, I had very black and white ideas about who should/shouldn’t be allowed to play NRL. As I said, I especially had trouble with players that had been convicted of violence against women and didn’t want them to return to the game.

        When Wicks and Ma’u were contracted at the Eels, I certainly wasn’t comfortable with it. But being at my club, of course I took a greater interest in them and was impressed by their commitment both on and off the field to changing their lives.

        Then I thought about it and realised that there was a fine line I was dancing. If some offences are worse than others and some players should be welcomed back and other not, where is the line and who makes that call?

        The integrity of our game is an issue that fascinates me and one that I continue to give a lot of thought to, because I honestly do not thing there is one right answer.

    • February 26th 2018 @ 9:41am
      Adam Bagnall said | February 26th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      My understanding is that he’s on about 85k a year at the Broncos, but that could increase dramatically if he has a good year. Personally I don’t think he should have been allowed to play NRL again after that US incident, but according to the Broncos he’s done his time, despite not actually doing any time for his crime. He has however not had a drink for a few years, what a saint he is.

      • February 26th 2018 @ 10:27am
        Duncan Smith said | February 26th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        85 K a year? Great. So if he plays for about 30 seasons and 800 NRL games he could finally pay off the ridiculous court fine.

      • Roar Guru

        February 26th 2018 @ 10:50am
        Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        He has done all the “time” he he was given through the courts and hasn’t played an NRL game in 2 years, what more time do you want?

        • February 26th 2018 @ 12:17pm
          Adam said | February 26th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

          He hasn’t been punished at all. Simply not playing in the NRL is not a punishment. Many players never make it to that level so not sure what argument you are trying to make there. The fact is he is yet to do any kind of jail time, or pay any amount to his victims. The Broncos are happy to overlook this

          • February 26th 2018 @ 12:26pm
            Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

            Community service was the punishment that the Court deemed fit. He did his time doing community service.

          • Roar Guru

            February 26th 2018 @ 12:27pm
            Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

            “yet to do any jail time”??? You realise that jail isn’t something you just knock on the door for and volunteer to do a couple years, he has done all that he was sentenced for. You’re acting like he skipped out of the country and got off scott free, thats far from the case

            • February 26th 2018 @ 2:44pm
              Adam said | February 26th 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

              Well he’s not in the US anymore and hasn’t paid any money to the victims so yes I believe he did get off lightly. Add to that he was able to join the Broncos for $80k a year only a couple of years later. Please provide the punishment that he’s been given for some pretty serious crimes. Anyone saying he’s done his time and need to have a long hard look at themselves.

              • February 26th 2018 @ 3:45pm
                Gray-Hand said | February 26th 2018 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

                His community service sentence is within the range he would be expected to get if the crime occurred in Australia.

                He roughed up a couple of people, damaged some property and resisted arrest.

                He lost his job and had his career set back by two years. His criminal defence (to which he pleaded guilty) cost $100k. He had to perform community service.

                He also spent 5 days inside Rikers Island Prison. Time served between arrest and trial is usually taken into account in sentencing.

                It’s not like he got off scot free.

              • Roar Guru

                February 26th 2018 @ 4:20pm
                Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

                Here’s an idea Adam, how about you look for yourself what punishment he was given and the sentance he recieved before you start throwing around accusations and judgements

              • February 26th 2018 @ 5:59pm
                Adam said | February 26th 2018 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

                Lodge had confronted two women as they stepped out of a cab, told them it was the “night you will die” and forced his way into their apartment building.

                Cartright, who had a unit near the foyer, went to help the women, but Lodge put him in a headlock and punched him in the face.

                Lodge also went into Cartright’s apartment, locked the door, began breaking plates and furniture and then attempted to smash down the door to a bathroom where Cartright’s wife and son were hiding.

                Lodge was arrested at gunpoint by NYPD officers. The family has required psychological treatment, with Cartright telling the court his son had trouble sleeping and socialising.

                For that he got 200 hours community service and a golden ticket back into the NRL.

              • Roar Guru

                February 26th 2018 @ 6:34pm
                Emcie said | February 26th 2018 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

                So what precisely happened? A drunken man verbally threatened some women, put a guy in a head lock and punched him, broke into someones house and broke his stuff. He was sentenced with a misdemeanour count of wreckless assault (which is what it was) and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service in Australia, receive alcohol abuse and anger treatment, abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs, submit to regular testing and avoid another arrest. It’s called conditional discharge for a reason, if he in any way stuffs up he goes to jail, that is not getting off scott free.

                I’m not defending his actions in any way, just presenting the facts. The judicial courts can only punish him for what he did, not what could have happened, as is reflected by the sentencing. However the civil courts can take into account trauma and other effects into accout, as represented in the $1.6 mil damages bill.

              • February 26th 2018 @ 11:39pm
                Adam said | February 26th 2018 @ 11:39pm | ! Report

                Which he is yet to pay off in any way, but he is allowed back into the NRL. I’m just uncomfortable with him coming back, it isn’t a good look for the game.

              • March 7th 2018 @ 12:24pm
                Jacko said | March 7th 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

                Geez imagine if he had done the Bubbler,,,of had faked sex with an animal

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