Brandon Smith has used his instagram account to make a public apology, but also said he will continue to be himself as the Melbourne Storm confirmed he would be exiting the club at the end of the 2022 NRL season on Tuesday.
Smith has been the crossfire over the past 24 hours following an appearance on the YKTR Sports podcast, where he drew the ire of the Storm for admitting he wants to win a premiership with the Roosters, before speaking glowingly about the culture of the club.
He also used the podcast to speak poorly of the Storm's culture at times, discussing problems with alcohol and gambling at length within the club's playing group.
Not only did he draw raised eyebrows from the Storm, but the NRL are also reportedly investigating the podcast, where Smith dropped more than 60 f-words, with the game administration set to allege he "brought the game into disrepute."
Statement from Brandon Smith. pic.twitter.com/PQBVlg7BfN
— Melbourne Storm (@storm) November 30, 2021
“I want to address current media speculation going on around me at the moment, and specifically my recent comments on the YKTR Sports podcast,” Smith said in the statement.
“Over the past two month, I’ve read multiple headlinese about me day in day out, many of which were untrue, non that from mouth directly.
“I done [sic] this podcast for that very reason. To be fully transparent about he process I’ve been going through.
“It’s honestly been really exciting through and I’m truly grateful to being the position I’m in.
“One thing I pride myself on is being myself, and regardless of backlash I will continue to do so.
“That being said, I do acknowledge and want to apologise for how some of the comments have been received.
“Specifically to the Melbourne Storm, it was never my intent to disrespect or come across as ungrateful to the club that has done so much for me and my family.
“And that goes for my coaches, members, staff and most of all, my teammates.
“I speak from the heart – for better or worse sometimes – and I’m sorry if anyone was hurt by my words.
“But at the end of the day they are my words.”
That apology was followed shortly afterwards by the Storm confirming Smith had informed them he would be on the move for 2023, although the club is yet to be confirmed. It's believed Smith has agreed to a contract with the Sydney Roosters though.
“Recent comments made by Brandon in a podcast, and the way he expressed them, do not align with Storm’s values and the way we operate as a club," Justin Rodski, Storm CEO said in the statement.
“The statements have deeply offended current and former players, coaches, staff and board members and the club strongly rejects the comments made about the Storm culture.
“We acknowledge Brandon’s apology made on social media today and his willingness now to prepare for the 2022 season with Storm.
“Brandon has every right to explore future opportunities as any player would in his position, and ultimately we respect his decision to play football elsewhere from 2023."
The Storm's statement will put to an end the speculation that the club may release him for 2022, although it's thought they may have investigated that issue further had they not been currently dealing with Tui Kamikamica and Nelson Asofa-Solomona's separate issues.