An NRL player has quit after a photograph of him performing a sex act with a dog was distributed on the Internet.
Joel Monaghan played with the Canberra Raiders.
Monaghan was attending an end of season house party with up to 30 Canberra players and friends when someone snapped a photo of the star player with a team-mate’s Labrador dog.
The image was later distributed on the micro-blogging service Twitter before making its way to the media. One week after the picture surfaced, greeted by widespread shock and condemnation, the 28 year old player announced he had asked that his approximately $250,000 per year contract with Canberra be cancelled.
“I accept total responsibility for what happened,” Monoghan said. “It was a moment of madness, and while it was totally out of character, I have to cop the consequences. I’m disappointed that the photo was distributed, but I should never have put myself in that situation. It’s something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.”
Monaghan, who has represented Australia at the international level, appeared to pre-empt a decision by team management to fire him after sponsors expressed outrage at the scandal. He now plans to pursue a contract with a professional rugby league team in England.
“It was a moment of abject stupidity brought about by too much drink and a complete lack of any thought process,” said an NRL executive.
“The fact that someone has sought to compound the situation further by the use of social media only adds to the trauma, but Joel accepts that it is his actions alone that are at fault. He apologizes unreservedly for the outrage that people feel at the moment, and blames nobody but himself.”
Professional rugby league teams and players are no strangers to controversy and sex scandals.
The Melbourne Storm team was stripped of its 2007 and 2009 championships after breaching a salary cap.
In an epic incident in 2005, a star player allegedly “groped” a woman at a charity event for golfer Jack Newton, drunkenly argued with the woman’s brother and father, walked around the venue naked, threw knives at hotel guests and crashed a golf cart.
In 2007, Andrew Johns, considered by some to be the best rugby league player of all time, was arrested while on vacation at a London subway station for possessing an Ecstasy tablet and later confessed to a long-term problem with drug use. Johns’ brother Matthew, meanwhile, was the center of a group sex scandal that embroiled the sport last year.
by Buford Balony