Jump to content

Players' mental welfare in our game.

Recommended Posts

Reading the various replies to the two disciplinary threads started yesterday, it's clear that the large percentage of opinions want the RFL to make a statement against racism in our sport by issuing a lengthy ban to Tony Clubb, if he is indeed found guilty of the offence.

Obviously it would be difficult to do anything else but come down hard on an individual found guilty of racism, when we see our players coming together before the start of every game for a short period to promote a united front against discrimination of any kind.

The thing that worries me is what happens to any RL player caught in the public spotlight of a very high profile case such as this. Our players aren't classed as "superstars" and paid as such like Premier League footballers, they're normal blokes earning not a huge amount more than your average person reasonably successful at their job. And it's a relatively short career.

Whilst not condoning the alleged offence, here we have a bloke thrust into the media spotlight, who might have uttered a few words in the heat of the moment, against another player who may well have committed an offence against him earlier, not seen by the officials in charge of the game.

If Tony Clubb is found guilty of the offence and punished heavily, it could well signal the end of his career, certainly it's very possible that Wigan will end his contract there.

This will no doubt have been discussed before but I hope that players in this position are well looked after because we have sadly lost too many players who have clearly suffered depression for whatever reason, due to their actions and the punishments they brought.

As I've just said, this will have been discussed at length before so apologies but I can't stress enough how important I feel it is and I have huge sympathy for Tony Clubb and the unwanted attention he's obviously getting at the moment.

I just hope he copes with it all as well as he can and receives as much help as he needs.







  • Thanks 1

Sky Sports Jenna Brooks to Jake Connor regarding England selection : "Shaun Wane has said that he's spoken to you about why you were left out, he's also said he's told you what you needed to do more of, I'm interested, what do you need to do more of and did you do it tonight?"

Jake Connor : "I don't know, to be honest I haven't spoken to him."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're a better man than I am as I'd have precious little sympathy for any player whose career ended in this way.

But you're right, overall and specifically, that I don't think we do do enough to support players' mental health. It has obviously got better but there is a long way to go.

This isn't specifically rugby league. Society as a whole is coming from a very low base and really struggles with what mental health looks like once it goes beyond "talk to someone". Other sports too aren't really any better.

But this is somewhere where, with a little investment, RL could lead the way. And in a sport where we can't pay huge money to everyone there could be some enlightened self-interest in rugby league being seen as a sport where player welfare, mental and physical, is seen as a priority.

  • Like 1

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's an interesting topic. We need to show the sport is going to take racism serious whilst also understanding humans make mistakes.

We felt education was key.

We also understand that mental health in society is paramount and rugby🏉, being a confrontational👊 sport with egos it may be a bigger issue for players and those involved 

we need to pick up these stories again soon, please share some comments on here or on YouTube for us to consider and build upon 👍



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've often made the point that people make mistakes and I don't think there is much that should put people on the scrap heap, so I'm not a fan of life bans, for much really - maybe very serious criminal activity linked to the sport. 

We absolutely should support and help people through tough times, but there are also consequences and I'd have no issue with Wigan terminating his contract. This is where RL Cares should step in maybe. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've previously said that the game tends to see "supporting player welfare" in the same way that UEFA seems/seemed to see "speaking up against racism" - something of a T-shirt campaign that had all the veneer of addressing the issue but, when push comes to shove and when hands need to be put in pockets, suddenly it was a "societal issue" that they can do nothing about. 

In truth, that might be a little unfair when you consider the support that someone like Zak Hardaker has had in recent years, but that was very much driven by individual clubs (and clubs arguably best-equipped to provide / fund such support - Leeds supporting him with anger management and Wigan with his drug / alcohol issues). In the broadest sense, I think the game has a weak record generally on the entire issue of player welfare (both physical and mental) and it is entirely in the sport's interest to invest more in this area - it does the game no favours when the players are in the front pages, in the courts or in The Priory. 

If Clubb is found guilty, then I think a strong statement will be set. I don't think it will be a sine die ban but equally, I wouldn't be suprised if he doesn't appear in a Wigan shirt again. But I do think that there is an educational aspect here. As much as we can all say that it should be obvious that you don't say these things, even in the heat of the moment, RL players tend not to come from the sorts of backgrounds that are, how shall we say this, "enlightened" on these sorts of things. People are often products of their environment after all. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If this thread stays on a discussion on looking after the mental health of players, I'll leave it open.

If it ends up regurgitating the same arguments over the Clubb incident that has seen two other threads locked with various posts being removed and one member being banned, this one will end up being locked too.

I'm fed up of firefighting this discussion.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The former players I have met (not many, to be frank) seem well-balanced and free from issues  I suspect that things are different for younger players as the largely unregulated world of social media is something they are part of. I think clubs have a duty of care to players and I think the games authorities might have a part to play for ex players. For all I know, they do that. 

I'm sure it's not easy for players to express their problems and to accept help in what is generally a testosterone fuelled sport, and calls for career ending punishment for ANY offences only add to the problem. 

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

Isaac Asimov

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...