NRL Goodness...Finally!

Hazem El Masri with his wife at the Women in League Luncheon. Photo taken by Steve Christo, sourced from

I just came across this article tucked away in the's sport section.

"ON a day celebrating women in the game, a favourite son was named and goodness was found in the purging of rugby league's dark and degrading moments.

Yesterday the Bulldogs winger Hazem El Masri was celebrated as the Women in League's "favourite son" while the lone woman on the National Rugby League board, Katie Page, said that recent events would encourage necessary change in the code."

"...Incidents such as the Cronulla 2002 group sex scandal needed to be exposed and purged, Ms Page said.

"It's appalling what has happened, nobody disagrees with that. On the other side you've got to encourage and congratulate what women are doing in this game."

At the third annual Women in League lunch Ms Page also called for clubs to employ more women at the top levels to improve the culture. "I really don't understand why the clubs don't have women on their boards in this day and age," she said.

"I think the purging of the game recently is a good thing. I think that it is a positive not a negative. If there were some parts of the game that weren't right, they certainly will be right from now on."

The article goes on to talk about Hazem El Masri and what he said while at the lunch, praising the women in his life for their support during his career.

"Women are the foundation of not just rugby league but also as an athlete you need a good woman behind you,"

His final comments-
"I think I speak on behalf of all the guys here," El Masri said. "Have some faith … There's a lot of good guys out there.

"The media may be concentrating on a lot of the negatives but if you have a look around there's plenty of guys, family men, lovely fun guys, who just love the game and respect women, that respect themselves and their families.

"These are the guys we should concentrate on. That is what the game is all about."

I totally agree with El Masri. I like NRL, I enjoy watching it, and it saddens me that the whole code is being tarnished because of the actions of a few. Some of the comments and opinions I have read have contained such massive generalisations such as "All footy players are boofheads', or "They're all rotten to the core". It is statements like those that make me angry. I'm sure the women making these comments would be pretty upset if their integrity and goodness was under question because of the actions of a few. It is these good guys that the media should be focusing on now, and yet an article like this isn't splashed across the top of the website with all the other 'important' news, it's tucked away at the bottom of the page. They don't want to show the good things about the NRL coz that isn't 'interesting' and won't get more readers. It doesn't cause outrage and goes against the 'popular' opinion that the NRL is full of nothing but terrible, dis-respecting drunks.

I wish the media would bring to light more of these good guys, and good guys in general. You shouldn't have to be doing the wrong thing to be considered 'news-worthy'.

What do you think? Should the media focus on positive stories more often and stop causing panic and mis-information by jumping on bandwagons and sensationalizing absolutely everything? Should all NRL players be branded unrespecting womanizers because of the actions of a few?


Amanda said…
Hmmm...tough one. Media by its very nature pounces on the bad news because they know that's what sells. In an ideal world, the group sex scandals would be balanced by stories such as this.

I do think there's a cultural issue in the NRL that needs to be addressed (and is, to a degree) but - no - it's not fair to tar everyone with the same brush.
I agree, there is definitley a cultural issue in the NRL, there has to be some way to change it, I wish I had the answers. I wonder where it comes from, I mean, who was the first person to decide that what a team really needs is a bit of group sex to bond? It's so ridiculous and for me personally, disgusting. Weird indeed!
I should have also said that I agree with Katie Page that there should be more women in higher positions within the NRL and clubs and I believe if the right women were there, that weren't afraid of the boys-club culture and to speak out when they see things that aren't right, then just maybe there might be a chance to make some sort of effective change.

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