While there was an outpouring of sympathy for Josh Reynolds following a false positive drugs test last week, the botched roadside examination was actually a bit of a blessing in disguise for him.
The Daily Telegraph broke the story last week that the Wests Tigers five-eighth had been pulled over by the fuzz in the wee hours last Monday and he returned a positive test for cocaine and meth.
However, a second test was administered at Sutherland police station, which came back negative. He was released and further study of the second test showed the former Origin rep had been clean all along.
To be fair, it would have been some feat for him to have managed to ingest cocaine and meth, given he was driving home from Bankstown airport after the Tigers’ flight home following their Sunday night loss to the Titans in Brisbane.
“Deep down, I was very, very confident because I know I’d done nothing,” Reynolds told 2GB.
Except, um, yeah you had done something. You were driving with an expired licence.
Admittedly “NRL star fails drugs test” is a heaps sexier headline than “NRL star forgets to renew his driver’s licence”, but Reynolds broke the law. And, according to NSW Roads and Maritime Services, “There are heavy penalties for driving without a licence… It is your responsibility to renew your licence by the due date.”
Furthermore, the RMS give you a heads up if your licence is on its last legs, also saying on their website, “We’ll send you a renewal notice about six weeks before expiry. Not receiving the renewal is not an acceptable excuse for failing to renew your licence.”
As for those “heavy penalties”, a first-time offence is a fine of $549. So we’re not talking about a parking ticket here – it’s a fair whack of cash, because driving without a licence isn’t cool.
Obviously it’s not a patch on getting behind the wheel with coke and ice coursing through your veins, but it’s still against the law.
But since there was so much outrage over Buzz Rothfield reporting a false-positive drugs test – which was a legitimate story to put to print, even if Reynolds was always going to be found to have no case to answer – there was a convenient decision by the media to just kinda breeze past the whole ‘driving without a licence’ thing.
And as a result, the NRL Integrity Unit seem to have decided it’s not worth looking at further.
Now, I’m not saying Reynolds deserves to have been sat out for his side’s loss to the Raiders. More than a parking ticket, sure, but his offence is definitely on the low end of the severity spectrum.
But that the Integrity Unit didn’t even mention it any further isn’t really good enough. Like, you’ve got to at least say, “Our players need to be vigilant around matters on the road. As a result, Josh will be receiving [insert slap on the wrist].”
And this is particularly the case because Reynolds has been front and centre for the past six months for all the wrong reasons.
While he was ultimately found to have no criminal case to answer with regards to the fiasco that was his relationship with Arabella Del Busso, the video of him yelling at her was pretty ordinary.
“I actually struggle to watch that,” he said in his recent 60 Minutes interview. “I never want to be that person ever again.”
And while I’d be happy to leave that whole sordid saga in the past, Josh put it back on the agenda by agreeing to do the interview with the Channel Nine program. You sort of put yourself in the media’s crosshairs if you decide to do an hour-long tell-all about your failed relationship with an Instagram model just a week before you get popped for driving without a licence.
Obviously some people just have bad luck, but when you agree to put a personal relationship in the spotlight, you’ve got to expect that – certainly for the foreseeable future – the rest of your off-field activities are far more likely to be subject to added scrutiny.
And, again, Reynolds was driving without a licence. You don’t want this to be an issue, then just make sure you have a valid licence.
As I said, I don’t suppose he needed to miss a game because of this. But the fact the headline for his off-field incident was “drugs” ended up doing Josh Reynolds a massive favour.