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After consultation with the NRL, the Canterbury Bulldogs have today advised they will contribute $30,000 to a nominated NRL charity as part of the Club’s contrition toward their handling of post Grand Final celebrations.
In accepting the contribution as appropriate, the NRL has warned that all clubs must be accountable in ensuring that all functions are managed in a professional manner at all times.
The money will be paid by way of a donation to charities agreed by the NRL, with all players contributing in line with a resolution proposed by the Bulldogs playing group.
Today’s decision follows an extensive review process that included the Club’s own internal report, video evidence, an independent security report requested by the NRL and a review of media footage.
The reports establish that:
• Some of the comments reported by the media were incorrectly recounted and should not, on the evidence since provided, be construed as having been directed to the reporters
• Irrespective of any arguments as to whether other remarks were directed to the media the language was unquestionably offensive, loud and left open to interpretation
• At the same time at least some players and guests were interacting with media representatives in a manner that could be taken as threatening
• The Bulldogs club was aware of the presence of media cameras and the likelihood of their actions being recorded
• There were a number of statements and hand gestures directed towards the media by those at the club
• The club did not take adequate steps to ensure that its representatives behaved in a responsible and professional manner.
ARLC Interim Chief Executive, Mr Shane Mattiske, said that it was time for the term ‘Mad Monday’ to be scrapped from the game:
“People should be able to celebrate the end of a season but regardless of whether it is at the end of the season or any other time of the year they have a responsibility to abide by the game’s agreed code of behaviour.
“There is no place for ‘mad’ behaviour at any level in our game. Calling something ‘Mad Monday’ is almost an excuse to go over the top and it is time for clubs across all levels of the game to seriously review how end of year celebrations are planned.
“The focus needs to be more about modifying actual behaviour rather than keeping the public away.
“The management of the function and the interaction with the media was in this case inappropriate.
“Regardless of arguments about who the statements were directed towards the language used was offensive, threatening and open to interpretation by anyone in hearing range.
“We accept that the club has recognised this and their contribution to a nominated charity partner demonstrates a suitable outcome for all parties.”
Bulldogs Chief Executive, Mr Todd Greenberg, said today that the club deeply regretted the damage caused to the club and the game:
“We are the first to admit that we should have handled things better.
“After completing a thorough investigation, I am now aware of every comment made. I am aware of every person that comments were attributed to and the context in which those comments were made. The players and staff have all been forthcoming with the information and honest in their discussions.
“It is clear that there were a number of inaccuracies in the media reporting but the players are gutted and are deeply concerned that language used within the room has been interpreted as having been directed to the media.
“There was a lot of sledging going on between the players and they used language that was inappropriate.
“This is something that the whole club, the players and administration, have to take responsibility for and that is why the whole club will make a contribution to an NRL nominated charity.
“It would not be helpful or fair to single any one name out and it can only produce a result that will be disproportionate with the actions of any individual.
“This is the result of the behaviour of a number of persons not anyone specifically.
“Players and staff answer to me as Chief Executive.
“The Club will engage them individually within their contractual terms and within the Club’s Code of Conduct. That is good business practice and is in line with the way we manage our Football Club.”