Just where is NRL boss Todd Greenberg’s mind at? He’s beginning to look like a bit of an arse. It’s not the first time he has messed up big time. And his latest gaffe could really sting the very pocket of the organisation he is supposed to be helping turn over large profit margins.
What head of a professional sports body suddenly announces the suspension of a player, only to subsequently rescind the decision due to the fact there was absolutely nothing written in their Code of Conduct that they could enforce to legally enact it? To not double-check basic facts himself or with his legal team before diving headlong into a press conference beggars belief.
There’s no excusing at any level the alleged repugnant and culpable behaviour of the player at the centre of the circus, Jack DeBelin. But now, unbelievably, from out of the mire of what seems an awful transgression and the possibility of a long-term or even a permanent ban (a la Ben Barba), De Belin now finds himself in a position where even if dumped out of the NRL he might end up with more money than he would if actually playing- if he were to win his already filed lawsuit against the NRL for something akin to emotional damage to reputation (and there’s a very good chance he would still win, even if he were found guilty of the sexual assault charge he is standing trial for on April 9). And if that so transpired, whose stunning lack of capability should the whole episode reflect back to? Exactly- Todd Greenberg.
Shockingly, regarding their already tenuous chances of seeing off De Belin’s lawsuit, the New South Wales Federal Court has already put the boot into Greenberg and the NRL lawyers before a preliminary hearing next Thursday; where it will be the NRL’s neck on the chopping block, where all along any trouble should be exclusively De Belin’s:
‘Federal Court judge Steven Rares told the NRL’s barrister, Alan Sullivan. QC, that in declaring that the Dragons forward had already been stood down as a result of a sexual assault charge, the league had injured his career. “It’s damaging to him as a professional and as an individual.” Justice Rares said during the Thursday hearing last week.’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 7 March).
Had the NRL done its due diligence properly in the whole affair right from the start they wouldn’t need to be heading back to court this Thursday as the DEFENDANT- how totally and utterly ridiculous. Or unbelievable.
The facts stand that Greenberg has past form for neglecting due diligence and playing an absolute stinker. And again in the following example, his bumbling led to the NRL cast in the role of defendant when it should have been undivided prosecutor. (Note the author- a real blast from the past):
Unfortunately there is also a very school-masterly ring to the way Greenberg scolds the players at his press conferences after their latest cavalcade of scandals. It’s almost as though he’s trying too hard to be some sort of modern-day Eliot Ness, and that his stern tones are as much to appease corporate sponsors who may be thinking twice about the next deal.
History usually shows however, especially in today’s climate, that straight-out admonishment very often leads to the direct opposite of its intended outcome. Tell a young guy he’s been ‘a naughty boy’ and more or less watch him wear it like a badge of honour.
Most of us wouldn’t want Todd Greenberg’s job for all the money in sports TV land. He has to contend with the horrendous situation of younger players (and some older, who should know better) becoming synonymous with online challenges in trying to outdo each other in the female conquest stakes. He’s got some pretty depraved, copy-cat individuals under his wing, but as well, Greenberg comes across as a monotoned bean counter with no proper feel for the game.
And in not cross-checking facts with his NRL lawyers before making grand pronouncements to large media throngs- that’s inexcusable. And it’s either solely Greenberg’s fault, or if it isn’t, he needs to find a new and competent legal team- and quickly.
Todd Greenberg and Peter Beattie are beginning to look like a mistake-addled pair of twins who could star in a new version of the Muppets as ‘Bumble and Fumble’.
-Paul M: email@example.com