The NRL’s public image has been through the wringer yet again following the domestic assault conviction handed down to South Sydney’s young grand final-winning centre Kirisome Auva’a, swiftly followed by the standing down of Rabbitohs recruit Cody Walker on a domestic violence-related charge.
Sadly, these recent atrocities are not uncommon in rugby league or sport in general – it is a reflection of a serious problem in wider society. Nearly 40 per cent of women 15 years and older have experienced violence in their lifetime, while nearly one in six women have experienced violence from a current or former partner.
These shocking figures are simply unacceptable, and while they were widely lampooned for their lenghty inaction over the Auva’a case, the NRL is taking steps to show it is right behind the campaign to eradicate violence against women in Australian society.
In support of White Ribbon Day, CEO Dave Smith, newly-appointed Chief Operating Officer Suzanne Young and One Community Ambassador Mario Fenech were among the hundreds that participated in the walk from Randwick to Coogee.
Among the other figures that turned out to support the important cause were former Test cricketer and rabid Souths supporter Mike Whitney, and NSW coach Laurie Daley.
Rugby league identities Ron Coote, Steve Renouf, Petero Civoniceva, Paul Sironen, Luke Phillips, David Barnhill and Steve Turner are also ambassadors for the White Ribbon organisation.
To find out more about White Ribbon or donate, visit www.whiteribbon.org.au