Having worked in the NRL for the past 9 years with several different teams both directly and indirectly, I feel as if I have reasonably good insight into the antics of high level rugby league players. And I, like many an avid fan of the footy have woken up today with pretty mixed feelings after watching last nights report on the Cronulla 2002 road trip in which the behaviour of one particular player has been highlighted by the media.
After listening to the punishing voice of the reporter extract tacky details of the liaison for what seemed like hours; in addition to the graphic description of sex with high level athletes from a notorious football groupie just after I had eatene dinner, I have two questions. "What on earth was a 19 year old doing in the team hotel room of a senior rugby league team?" and "Why, out of 12 or 13 players that were participating or watching, why would she name just one, and the highest profile person there?"
No one is saying the behaviour was appropriate but to date the story has been pretty one sided. Footy players do not go out cruising bars to pick up girls. Footy players go out to gamble, drink and hang out with their footy mates. Unlike movie stars and other highly coveted men, footy players generally spend times in packs and are easily recognisable in the small cities and suburbs in which they play and party. Girls flock to these characters and the locations they spend their time in and are obsessed with both current and ex players as well as the support staff. If such variables came together for rock or movie stars, celebrity chefs or television identities, similar situations would arise. At some point the women too need to hold themselves accountable for their actions just as much as the footy players do.