Australian National Rugby League (NRL) was hit by another sex scandal when a New Zealand woman alleged on national television that she was involved in a group sex incident with at least six NRL players while they visited a school in Christchurch in 2002.
The allegations were made on the Monday night episode of ABC’s Four Corners. The woman, whose identity has been kept closed, was 19 years old when the hideous act was committed.
She gave a very graphic description of the incident on TV, saying that she worked as a waitress at the hotel where the players were staying. At least two players were named, Matthew Johns and Brett Firman, both played for the Cronulla Sharks at the time. The woman alleged that she had sex with at least six men while another six watched.
“They were massive, like big rugby players. I felt that I just had no idea what to do. There was always hands on me,” she said. “I thought I was worthless, and I thought I was nothing. I think I was in shock. I didn’t scream. They used a lot of mental power over me and belittled me.”
“If I had a gun, I’d shoot them right now,” she said. “I hate them. They’re disgusting.”
After the incident, she did complain to the local authorities but the players and the staff were not charged as they alleged that it was consensual. She has now come out of the shell because ‘she wants the wives and girlfriends of the players to know what they did.’
Matthew Johns, who was one of the most popular rugby players in the league at that time, gave a press conference a week ago in response to the allegations made by the woman.
“Any trauma and embarrassment she has gone through as the result of this incident I am extremely sorry for,” Johns told the Nine Network. “At no point did she object to what was going on, at no stage was she under any distress.”
Johns was immediately fired from his current job as a sports newscaster and an assistant rugby coach.
Although the men involved have still maintained they are ‘not guilty, but sorry’ stance, the NRL on its behalf, did apologize for the inappropriate behavior of their players.
“Violence against women is abhorrent, and sexual assault and the degradation of women is just that,” said David Gallop, the NRL’s chief executive. “So much of what we saw [during Monday night’s program] was fundamentally indefensible. And if anyone in the game today is ignoring the importance of that message, then frankly they will need to find another career.”
In the light of this being not the first time that Australian rugby players have been involved in a sex scandal, the NRL also claimed that they are already working on programs to improve women’s image in rugby and to counter-attack crimes like rape.
Photos: www.wenn.com/ Richard Naude