There are 2 main issues with which rugby league, the NSWRL, and sports in general, must address:
- Racism: are there underlying racist attitudes of some of its members? When asked, I am sure every single player, coach, supporter, official will say that they are not racist. Yet occasional derogatory comments about race are still made on the field. they don’t happen often, but they do still happen. Perpetrators often dismiss it as ‘sledging’ and ‘it didn’t mean anything’. But it reflects deep-seated attitudes, some of which surface under pressure. Timana Tahu has apparently thought for some time before taking his action. He is to be commended for not acting in haste; and for taking action on principle. The alleged racist comments are the most important driver of events.
- Alcohol & drugs: the time has long since passed when team “bonding sessions” should be based on alcoholic stupor, and the stupidity that follows. With respect to Andrew Johns, he has already publicly admitted he is an alcoholic - “For me the problem was alcohol” (& ecstasy). [Andrew Johns, to Phil Gould on The Footy Show, 30-Aug-2007.]