Another Blemish On Rugby League's Name

Before I get started because I know that people are going to call me out as "bagging Wigan" or "jealous" of the club, this article isn't about this incident in particular, instead this is a view of the bigger picture in this wonderful sport.

I don't need to go into too much details of the ins and outs of the full incident involving the Tomkins brothers in a pub in Wigan, most people will have seen the clip by now. Unfortunately this is one of a few incidents that is helping to Rugby League to lose it's identity as a sport played by gentlemen, earlier in the year a clip emerged of Albert Kelly in a McDonalds disrespecting and verbally abusing a young woman while highly intoxicated.
While I completely understand players are people too and sometimes they need to let off a little steam, especially after a loss, there's no excuse for taking your frustrations out on members of the public who at times maybe even idolize these professionals. I also get that a big part of the game is camaraderie and having a few drinks after a game with your team, but has it really got to a point where teams have to set a limit for grown men?

One defense for these actions that I have seen a lot is "If they weren't famous then it wouldn't have been recorded", but they are. Like it or not, when a player steps into a public place they are representative of the game and of their club, not to mention that the latest incident involved two former England reps.

Of course when this does happen it begins to tarnish the values and the name of the sport, especially when mainstream media get a hold of it, here's my favorite example of a headline "England Rugby League star handed four week ban by Wigan Warriors after vile abuse of barmaid" - The Mirror, it's been almost 5 years since Tomkins last touched an England shirt, but this is now the outside conception on the game of Rugby League, a game built on the foundations of respect.

Unfortunately this is not the first incident and you can bank good money on it not being the last, I personally feel that stricter guidelines and punishments need to be enforced on players to ensure that there isn't a repeat in such behavior.


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