NRL CEO Dave Smith statement
NRL CEO Dave Smith said on Saturday he was angry and fed up with the minority of players who brought the game into disrepute.
He said the ARL Commission expected a tough stance to be taken against players who brought the game into disrepute – and that would happen.
Mr Smith stressed that the players served with notices to appear in court as part of the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into drug supply were entitled to the presumption of innocence in relation to any criminal charges.
But he said players were on notice that anyone engaging in criminal conduct could expect harsh punishment.
"The overwhelming majority of players do the right thing… youngsters look up to them and they do so much good work in the community," Mr Smith said.
"But we continue to have a small group of irresponsible players who engage in conduct which brings down our game.
"The message to those players is clear… if you bring the game into disrepute there will be consequences.
"We are not going to let a few players wreck our image and brand."
Mr Smith said there was no place for illicit and illegal drugs in the NRL.
"We know that Rugby League is a reflection of the rest of society so there will be people who stray from time to time but we will not tolerate serious misconduct which damages the game."
Mr Smith said the NRL remained committed to Rugby League on the Gold Coast.
"This is a key area for our game and we are determined to ensure our fans continue to have their own team on the Gold Coast," he said.