It’s been another off-season from hell for the NRL, although this year the bad-news stories are the kind that head office would almost be happy about.
The NFL off-season typically means one thing: controversy.
It’s sex tapes, drunk and disorderlies, assaults or other crimes and indiscretions. From Dylan Napa to Jack de Belin, summer each year is a collection of clusters. At least that’s how the media largely portrays it.
I’m not here to tell you these things didn’t happen or don’t matter – they clearly did and do. Other than being poor form, these acts are detrimental to society and have an impact on impressionable people growing up in and around the game.
I want to cast a light on acts that don’t get the same coverage. There are a few content creators around the place pushing the many positives that the rugby league fraternity facilitates.
Take a look at Payne Haas. The Brisbane Broncos prop put together a season that ranks him near the top of all props at the young age of 20. He flew down to Newcastle recently to run water in a local nines competition hosted to raise awareness for bowel cancer research.
What about Corey Norman, who in conjunction with a clothing label he owns with Isaac John and James Segeyaro works with the homeless in Sydney each week. He helps clothe them, provides for them and listens to them. He lets them know that someone is around and cares.
And what of the long list of NRL stars who donated signed jerseys and other items to be auctioned off for bushfire funds. Clint Gutherson, Daly Cherry-Evans, Corey Oates, Latrell Mitchell, Darius Boyd, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Andrew Fifita, Kalyn Ponga and Nathan Cleary are just a shortlist of players who have donated gear to the cause. There’s many more than that but too many to name.
What should be evident by now is that players do good deeds yet are so often judged as a whole by the mistakes that get thrust into the spotlight. In the case of NRL coverage, controversy and scandal sell.
Some of the players’ perspectives is that good deeds are kept quiet because their motivation is questioned. People wonder aloud whether they are trying to look positive instead of being truly positive, whether there’s a commercial angle or otherwise. This ‘hateration’ is a byproduct of perpetuating negativity. Let good deeds be good, people.
Given the way society works, good news stories never garner the attention or clicks the negative ones do. It’s unrealistic to expect the financials behind content to shift away from this, but what we can do as fans, writers and pundits is make sure the good stuff is heard.
It’s easy to pile on when the game is in disrepute. The negative will always steal the spotlight, but when the good things happen take the time to let people know. Whether that’s at the pub over a beer, on a social media platform or with a Roar article, recognise the good that the players do and let’s start generating some positive discussion.