Any player filming, distributing or featuring in a lewd video recorded after March 1, 2019 which becomes public will face a lengthy suspension and heavy fine after NRL CEO Todd Greenberg accused Canterbury recruit Dylan Napa of "gross stupidity".
Napa was fined 10 per cent of his 2019 salary after several videos of him were posted on social media but Greenberg declined to ban the Bulldogs prop because of concerns that doing so could encourage the leaking of historical footage in a bid to have players suspended.
The videos featuring Napa had been filmed up to five years ago and shared in a WhatsApp group with his then-Sydney Roosters teammates but became public during the off-season after he signed with Canterbury.
There has been speculation hundreds of such videos exist and the possibility of players being suspended if they entered the public arena could encourage further leaks or expose players to extortion.
Napa's fine equates to about $70,000 and players are now set to be docked a percentage of their pay rather than a set amount, while Greenberg warned of heavy suspensions for any new videos.
"The Dylan Napa tapes have been widely distributed on social media and have again damaged the way our players are perceived by the general public. This hurts every player," Greenberg said.
"If there was a grading in our system for stupidity this behaviour would be at the very top end. Having said that they were made around five years ago when there was a slightly different social media environment.
"It is plausible that the players involved had reason to believe that the videos were on a restricted social media network and would not have become public. Clearly, they were wrong and they should never make that assumption.
"I would suggest that every player in the NRL would be acutely aware now that if they distribute or take videos which are idiotic, senseless, juvenile, and they get out, they can expect a significant sanction."
The NRL boss had been seething when the videos became public and he had previously indicated Napa would be suspended but decided against doing so.
"I have thought about this long and hard, and I am very frustrated by the conduct and the stupidity, as I would call it," Greenberg said.
"I would say that the length of time that it happened gives some credence for me to consider the sanction and also the fact that we’ve all heard the rumours of more videos being out there.
"I am trying to find a balance here that I think is fair and reasonable on the player and the club he is playing for.
"But I do give warning that any similar behaviour filmed and date stamped from today will attract much more severe sanctions, including suspensions."
North Queensland prop Scott Bolton has also been fined a percentage of his salary – 5 per cent – as well as receiving a five-match suspension after pleading guilty to common assault over an incident with a woman at a Sydney hotel last year.
Bolton has played more than 200 NRL matches for the Cowboys and he agreed to address the captains and senior players of all 16 clubs during Magic Round in May about the lessons he has learned from the incident. In return he had his initial 10-match suspension halved.
"Scott is a person who is highly regarded by the Cowboys club, he has had an unblemished career over 13 seasons and is a life member of the Cowboys," Greenberg.
"We regard any offence against a woman to be at the top end of the scale in the terms of our sanctioning. However, we have agreed to halve his sanction if he agrees to share his experience with team captains and leaders.
"We see this as a unique opportunity to help prevent other players getting themselves in the same situation. To have a player of his experience and his standing in the community pass on a warning to senior players of all other clubs will I think be invaluable."