If there’s one thing the Rugby League media loves it is hyperbole … oh and turning on its own.
Two things then!
This week, following the positive test by Bronson Xerri for performance-enhancing drugs, the NRL media had a chance to achieve both in one fell swoop … and boy didn’t they swoop!?
Calls varied from kicking the Sharks, who have since been cleared of any involvement or knowledge, out of the competition, to banning Xerri for life.
Just yesterday Rugby League’s favourite “who dat?” member of the pile on brigade Mark Levy came out and said that Bronson Xerri needs to be banned for life after his albeit harmful and silly actions.
He wasn’t the only one making hyperbolic comments for attention, but he’s certainly been the loudest and most over the top.
As a Sharks fan, I have every right to be furious with young Bronson’s actions, and as I wrote last week, I am. He cost both the club and the fans an attacking weapon just weeks after we released Josh Morris.
Nothing good comes from his errors, however, calling for a life ban is downright ridiculous.
The thinking is obviously that a harsh punishment needs to be delivered to ensure others learn from his errors and do not chase an unfair advantage in the future.
Awesome, like say … a four-year suspension!?
What good comes from ending this kid’s career at just 19 years of age after one, again albeit, stupid error?
Lets put aside the false rage for a second and focus on the actual incident at hand.
We have a 19-year-old kid using banned substances to heal an injury in order to come back sooner to the only job he’s ever know; playing rugby league.
I am not defending him for a second. On last week’s Fins Up Podcast I made it very clear that he wouldn’t get any sympathy from me. He put himself and the club in a real negative spot.
That said, ultimately who did he hurt? Himself first and foremost.
The Sharks were able to bring in Josh Dugan and now don’t have to face the almost certain prospect of losing him to a fat Roosters contract this year or next.
It’s not as though he terrorised a family in their own home, or filmed himself engaging in sexual activities with an unknowing partner.
No life bans for players involved in such activities, but a guy who took a shortcut should be ousted for life?
Again, not defending his actions, just don’t understand the “end his career at 19 for one error” push.
Levy’s reasoning was that “we need to remember these NRL players are educated about the dangers and illegalities of taking things like testosterone and steroids.”
You telling me players haven’t been educated against drinking and simulating sexual activities with a dog? Or snap chatting teammates videos of non-consenting partners?
Make no mistake, Bronson isn’t going to be sat for 6 weeks with full pay and made to write a faux apology, only to return refreshed come finals time.
He’s done for years. Possibly career over.
At BEST, he can have his sentence reduced to two years if he offers up huge assistance (whatever that means) to Asada.
More likely he is looking at a four-year ban.
There is no telling what four years away from the game can do to a person.
Why completely rule him out for life?
It’s worth remembering that this is a 19-year-old human being we are dealing with here. He knows he’s made a terrible judgement and has seemingly shown willingness to assist and ultimately serve his ban.
Piling on here above and beyond sounds counterproductive. If we rule him out, why would he bother assisting in further investigations? Why would he bother full stop?
Xerri’s actions have annoyed and angered me more than most for the simple fact that my son’s jersey has Bronson’s name stitched across it, not to mention the fact he was our club’s biggest weapon.
Yet I’m able to put my emotions aside.
Others, clearly, are not able to do so.
Let the kid have his B sample tested and serve out any potential penalty handed down. If he wants to return to Rugby League in four years, we’ll cross that bridge then.
Nothing good comes from trying to end his career due to an error of judgement made in his teens.
He’s done some serious damage to the game and the club he represents, but ultimately the next scandal will come and the only person left reeling from this will be Xerri himself.