The word redemption is thrown around much too loosely in the world of rugby league.
Australian media have not yet come to the realisation that being good at sport, does not undo your prior indiscretions nor does it make you a good person.
Russell Packer, on the other hand, is the epitome of what a true redemption story is.
Known for his disgraceful on-field antics which included being caught by cameras urinating on a field prior to a game against the Brisbane Broncos in 2013 before serving a two-year prison sentence after a cowardly act five months later.
Fast forward five years and Packer is now co-captain of the Wests Tigers football club. At 28 years of age, is the youngest class member studying an executive MBA at the University of New South Wales.
— David Riccio (@DaveRic1) March 3, 2018
He has also overhauled his playing style, which hasn’t seen him miss a game of football through suspension since his return to the NRL in 2015.
The most redeeming factor of them all may very well be the fact that Packer has owned up to his mistakes, rather than talk his way around them.
Owning up to his off-field irresponsibilities as ‘choices’ rather than mistakes is a true credit to the character of Russell and his ability to own his issues and turn his life around.
This is something the likes of Blake Ferguson, Josh Dugan, Mitchell Pearce, Jarryd Hayne, Todd Carney, Matthew Lodge et al have been unable to achieve thus far in their careers.