The NRL is drowning in sex tapes

Of the 99 problems facing the NRL, the only saving grace is that a bitch ain’t one of them.


Bitch, of course, referring to a female dog of the type that has featured in separate historical simulated sex scandals involving star players Joel Monaghan (Joel-Monaghan-confirms-sex-act-with-dog) and Mitchell Pearce (mitchell-pearce-nrl-dog-video).

Touch wood, no dogs have been accosted so far in 2019, thankfully.

Non-bestiality-themed sex tapes, though, are most certainly front and centre of the damaging scandals landing on the computer monitors of the NRL’s integrity unit on a daily basis.

Things have got so bad that the unit’s officers could quite easily sit and watch porn all day and no one would suspect they weren’t simply doing their job.

The latest issue has centred on sexual recordings involving Panthers star Tyrone May, who was arrested on Monday and charged with two counts of recording an intimate image without consent and two counts of disseminating images without consent.

The charges, which May has pledged to “vigorously defend” come following complaints to police by two unidentified females who feature in the separate recordings.

The women say the acts in the videos were consensual, but claim they had no idea they were being filmed, and that the footage had been shared.

May’s case comes right on the heels of the NRL having handed down a sizeable fine to Bulldogs prop Dylan Napa for appearing in a series of sex tapes, filmed several years ago, that were leaked to the public via social media in January.

Dubbed the ‘Big Papi’ tapes (as this is the name Napa ascribes to himself in recordings that feature some, er, non-mainstream interests) the Napa recordings have proved a vexing issue for the NRL.

The activity filmed was consensual. Napa was playing for a different club at the time, and the recordings were later released into the public realm with the clear intention to do him harm – revenge porn via third party, so to speak.

The problem for Napa, the Bulldogs and the NRL is that current and potential future sponsors are unlikely to care that he is as much victim here as the star of his own spicy melodrama.

The other issue, if you’ll excuse the pun, is that what we’ve seen so far is expected to be just the tip. Cyberspace is rumoured to littered with NRL sex tapes.

“I’ve heard lots of rumour and innuendo about lots of historical videos and if they are or aren’t out there,” NRL boss Todd Greenberg said.

“I don’t know if they are. I can only deal with what’s put in front of me.”

The issue for Greenberg is that tapes keep getting put in front of him.

Panthers captain co-captain Josh Mansour admitted a situation where sex tapes that had been WhatsApped into the wrong hands were being intentionally released to harm players could be unnerving for some.

“That’s what’s so scary about it,” Mansour said. “The person who is leaking the videos, what are his motives?

“I know I’m not (on edge), I’ve got nothing to worry about.

“But obviously some people have videos out there that are private and if they get put in the wrong hands, I would definitely be worried (if I was them), no doubt.”

Which brings us to the nub of an issue that fits neatly into the ‘how the heck could they have predicted this?’ file.

Even five years ago, could the NRL have predicted that one of its biggest reputational risks would be players recording themselves having sex and then sharing those recordings with their mates?

Actually, perhaps they could.

Because, like most problems that afflict professional sports bodies, this issue is symptomatic of a wider societal issue.

People filming themselves or their friends having consensual sex is a thing now, no doubt about it. So, too, is the act of maliciously publishing those recordings when relations between the parties break down.

That’s why revenge porn laws have been introduced.

If it isn’t already, the perils of sex tape recording will become mandatory part of footy player education: don’t break the law, drink excessively in public, piss into your own mouth, pretend to root a dog, take recreational and/or performance enhancing drugs.

And think twice about whether you really need your phone’s video camera to be on when you’ve having sex. If filming is a must for you, then at least think really, really hard about whether it is a good idea to share the recording with your mates. And have a real good think about how good those mates really are.

Because, unlike the sexual and domestic violence atrocities that still blight the game (see below) ; unlike the drunken rampages (see below); unlike the assaults on cab drivers (yep, below); the illegal publication of sex tapes is an area where footy players are as likely to become victim as they are be the perpetrator.

It's all fun and games. Until it is not any more.


Jarryd Hayne (Eels)

In November 2018, news broke police were investigating Hayne over an allegation of sexual assault on September 30. He was charged with “aggravated sexual assault inflict actual bodily harm on victim”. Hayne will plead not guilty to the charge.

Zane Musgrove and Liam Coleman (Rabbitohs, Panthers)

On December 5, Liam Coleman and Zane Musgrove were charged with aggravated indecent assault. The event allegedly occurred on November 24. Musgrove allegedly assaulted a 22-year-old woman in November at a licensed venue in Coogee. The pair pleaded not guilty to all charges in January.

Jacob Saifiti (Knights)

On December 2, Jacob Saifiti was left unconscious and broke his leg after a physical altercation with Dane Cordner, the brother of NSW captain Boyd Cordner. Saifiti was cleared by police of any wrongdoing, but was hit with a $50,000 fine by the Knights for being involved in the incident.

Dylan Walker (Sea Eagles)

Dylan Walker was charged with assault on his partner, Miss Universe Australia contestant Alexandra Ivkovic. The incident allegedly occurred on December 6. Walker pleaded not guilty and his wife issued a retraction statement. Police are still pursuing the assault charges. Walker has been stood down by Manly under the NRL’s new ‘no fault’ rule.

Jack de Belin (Dragons)

On December 13, NSW Representative Jack de Belin was charged with sexual assault. De Belin allegedly assaulted a 19-year old in Wollongong on December 9. De Belin has denied the allegations.

Tautau Moga (Knights)

Knights centre Tautau Moga was charged with common assault and is due to face court in March. Moga allegedly slapped a taxi driver twice on December 26.

Michael Chee Kam (Tigers)

Wests Tigers back-rower Michael Chee Kam was charged with assault, which was alleged to have occurred on December 30. Chee Kam is alleged to have punched a ride-share driver through the window of his car.

Dylan Napa (Bulldogs)

On January 11, a sex video involving Dylan Napa was released to the internet without Napa’s permission. Two more videos were released after the first one. Napa is pursuing legal action.

Cronulla Sharks (Sharks)

The Cronulla Sailing Club banned the entire Cronulla Sharks team after an incident that became physical on December 21.

Jaeman Salmon (Eels)

On January 17, Eels youngster Jaeman Salmon was convicted of low-range drink-driving after a car accident on October 13. Salmon flipped his vehicle after it crashed into three parked cars.

Ben Barba (Cowboys)

On February 1, Ben Barba was sacked by the Cowboys over an incident at a Townsville Casino on Australia Day. There is supposedly CCTV footage of the incident, which is alleged to have involved Barba’s wife.


Shane Flanagan (Sharks)

Cronulla coach deregistered after flouting his 2014 drugs ban by communicating with the club.

Justin Pascoe (Tigers)

Wests Tigers chief executive banned by the NRL for salary cap breaches.

Scott Bolton (North Queensland)

Pleaded guilty to common assault after grabbing a woman's thigh at a Bondi bar in May last year.

Tyrone May

Penrith star charged with two counts of recording an intimate image without consent and two counts of disseminate image without consent.

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