South Sydney star Cody Walker’s blackmail saga has taken a surprising turn, with the phone number used to issue the threat reportedly traced back to another NRL player manager.
The Daily Telegraph has reported detectives working on the case traced the number used in the call to Walker back to another agent, who is now under investigation.
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Walker went to police and the NRL integrity unity after receiving a call threatening to release footage of him assaulting a man, unless a payment of $20,000 was provided.
The footage was leaked on Monday, and showed a shirtless Walker running up and kicking a man in the chest during an apparent dispute.
Walker, who was himself investigated by police over the altercation, says he will accept whatever punishment is handed down to him for his part in the blackmail scam.
“Whatever decision the game, the club, anyone come up with, that is what is going to happen,” Walker told Channel 9.
“I will not be appealing. I am very, very sorry.”
NRL great sympathetic, but frustrated by Cody Walker situation
Walker explained what happened in the video was him going to the defence of his cousin, who was fighting with a stranger. Walker’s family was mourning the loss of his 24-year-old cousin.
“I was trying to protect a family member after the loss of one of my first cousins who we lost through suicide,” Walker said on Channel Nine News.
“She was 24 years of age and we were grieving her. Seeing her brother who is my first cousin, seeing him fight the first thing that popped into my head was I just need to stop it.”
Former Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters star Cooper Cronk was sympathetic towards Walker and his situation, but said the look was still not good for the game.
“It’s not a major indiscretion. It’s just not a good look,” the recently retired four-time premiership winner said on Fox League Live.
“I just don’t think you can have one of your star players who is an inspiration to a large portion of this country and who a lot of junior rugby league players aspire to be like, you just can’t have that look coming through on social media or the news outlets or what-not.”
While Cronk doesn’t think Walker will face an extended ban for the incident, he does think the NRL integrity unit will punish him in some degree.
“Is it at the serious end? I’d say no. Is it at the bottom end? No. But it’s just a couple of levels up that’s going to have to be dealt with,” he said.