Gold Coast pair Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly may not receive payments from the club beyond the end of the month as both the Titans and NRL expect a legal fight from the players if the Queensland government enforce the “no jab, no play” policy, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The two players have both refused the flu shot and are waiting for an exemption to play by the state government. Both have received player payments for the remainder of the month but their future payments remain in doubt.
Sources close to the NRL have told The Sydney Morning Herald that the league would support the Titans in any legal fight if they decide to stop payments due to the player’s “anti-vaxx” values prevent them from contractual obligations.
“I’m one of the 98 per cent, and there will be 98 per cent in the community that will say just get the shot and come back to work,” he said.
“But those 2 per cent; they’ve got some different views and two circumstances and it’s not that easy for those guys.”
Both Kelly and Cartwright will dissect the NRL player contract with their lawyers to prepare for any legal fight that will come if the players are banned from playing and training.
Key components which will be looked at include the ‘termination due to health risk’ section, which allows a club to terminate any contract due to a medical issue or injury that could provide greater risk to them and other players.
Experts are divided on whether the duo’s refusal to have the flu shot can legally lead to termination of their playing contracts.
“With all professional sporting codes, a number of policies and agreements regulate NRL player conduct on and off the field.
It would be surprising if these policies and agreements do not preserve for the NRL, or for the individual clubs, some power that might be used to try to exclude a player from participating unless he is vaccinated or has signed a waiver”, insurance and liability lawyer Lucinda Lyons said.
“However, unless there is a clear and specific power in relation to vaccinations, this may leave some room for argument as to the legality of the move.”
Employment lawyer Kamal Farouque however said that if the directive is reasonable, the NRL does have the power to stand down the players.
“In the current environment, the ground would be shifting towards an assessment that the requirement is lawful and reasonable.”