Greenberg: We knew about Lodge's behaviour
Matt Lodge's alleged physical and emotional abuse of his former girlfriend was not new information to the NRL, with the organisation's CEO Todd Greenberg confirming they would not be reopening an investigation into the Brisbane Broncos prop.
Speaking at Monday's NRL Hall of Fame announcement, Greenberg also outlined the steps the NRL Integrity Unit will be looking for when it reviews Todd Carney's request to re-enter the NRL after a contract for the former NSW five-eighth was lodged by the North Queensland Cowboys.
The NRL CEO addressed a report in Sydney's The Sunday Telegraph where Lodge's former girlfriend Charlene Saliba outlined his alleged behaviour in 2015.
She said that ''it started with controlling behaviour, then name-calling, then came the emotional abuse, he started throwing things, physically restraining me, [he] spat in my face, then pushing and shoving me, which then lead to threats on my life".
Lodge allegedly also issued a threat when he said: "I triple dare you to call the cops, your life won't end that well."
In an interview earlier on Fox Sports, Lodge had told presenter Yvonne Sampson that "I can still admit that I haven't hit any women or assaulted any."
Lodge was charged with eight domestic violence offences against Saliba in August of 2015 and pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault the following year.
"Everything that was written and said over the course of the weekend was not new information to us. The integrity unit had assessed all that information," Greenberg told reporters on Monday morning.
"That doesn't for one minute condone any of his actions that happened, nor does it take any of the concern we have away from the victims.
"Matt spent a long time out of the game and spent a huge amount of time in counselling and rehabilitation, including a specific course around domestic violence.
"We made a decision to register his contract and nothing that was written on the weekend was new information to us."
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Greenberg was asked if any of the statements made on the weekend surprised him.
"The commentary on certain things in rugby league will always surprise from time to time, but we make decisions that sometimes aren't popular and will divide opinion and I understand that," he said.
"But at most points in time we have to assess the information that is available to us and make what we think is the right decision, and on this occasion we have registered his contract."
Greenberg was asked whether he had set up a face-to-face meeting with Carney regarding his request to re-enter the NRL via the Cowboys.
"I don't think we have set a meeting up yet but we have written to the club and to his manager putting in some steps and a process through which we would consider a registration, and I understand that information will come through in the next week or so," he said.
Greenberg was then quizzed about the comparison between Carney's well-documented antics and that of Lodge, who also went on a rampage in New York in 2015 and pleaded guilty to reckless assault after terrorising a family in their apartment.
Greenberg said opinions that Carney's past behaviour doesn't come close to that of Lodge in a measurement of what is unacceptable behaviour was not part of the governing body's decision-making process.
"I understand why people will make comparisons about previous behaviour, but the comparison we will be very much about the work that has been undertaken in order to return to the game," Greenberg said.
"So I would like to see what counselling work [Carney] has done, what rehabilitation work he has done and what commitment he has made in order to ensure that he gets a new contract."
Greenberg said the Lodge case "went to the core of my own personal values too".
"I thought long and hard about this," he said.
"I deliberated on this for a long period of time, but like anything in life it is not just about punishment, it is about rehabilitation and it is about a game that tries to help others, and I think that is what rugby league stands for.
"It is about making sure you give people the opportunity to be better and to help those communities and those individuals, and on this occasion that is the principle of the decision we’ve made."