Valentine Holmes this week has confirmed on social media he will walk away from the Cronulla Sharks and rugby league to pursue a career in the NFL, effective immediately.
The 23-year-old has played 105 NRL games, five State of Origin matches for Queensland and represented Australia 13 times.
It had been rumoured the premiership winner was in high demand with an all-out fight been the Cronulla Sharks and North Queensland Cowboys throwing all the money they had at the superstar.
The latest was Holmes was offered $5 million to stay at the Shire, which would have made him the highest-paid player in the Sharks history.
I applaud the young man. Why not have a crack at the hugely popular sport, especially if it has been a lifelong ambition to play in the NFL?
I mean, the kid is 23, he could have a decent crack at the American sport over a five-year period and still come back a stronger and bigger player than when he left rugby league.
This would be in stark contrast of Jarryd Hayne’s attempt at the ripe age of 28.
Since the announcement, the overall reaction to the news has been positive, except for his Sharks captain Paul Gallen.
Gallen has called for Holmes to be banned from playing in the NRL again.
What purpose does this serve?
This is absolutely ludicrous to ban a player for simply following a new career path, particular with the free publicity the NRL are going to gain from any success Holmes has from this venture.
Gallen told the Nine Network he couldn’t see how this was good for the integrity of the game.
What damage has Holmes possible done to rugby league by switching to gridiron?
I can think of something else that did in-fact saw the integrity of the game take a hit.
Peptides, performance-enhancing your body to get the edge over your opponent.
I hate to break it to you Paul but cheating is what effects the integrity of the game, not merely switching to a new sport.
Before any of the keyboard warriors lose their minds and start defending him by saying he didn’t know he was getting pumped with, I just want to say one thing.
Gallen, as well as his teammates, admitted guilt the moment they accepted their bans.
There is enough education around the game which affirms it is the sole responsibility of the athlete themselves to stay clean, not the clubs, not the coach and certainly not old mate down the road at the local supplements shop.
I know because I have gone through the education with the NRL myself.
Blaming the club and/or the medical staff is no different to Shane Warne blaming his Mum, yet he was rubbed out of cricket for two years.
I can understand why he is upset, Holmes will be a huge void to fill.
But please, spare me the lecture about the integrity of the game and focus on signing a new fullback.