Coaches and players are reportedly fuming with Kangaroos pair Josh Addo-Carr and Latrell Mitchell after they were fined for a camping trip, which broke social-distancing laws.
Mitchell and Addo-Carr apologised for their actions on Monday, after attending a camping trip with 10 others, right before the NSW Police found the Kangaroos pair breached social-distancing laws and fined them $1,000 each.
NRL heavyweights, including Phil Gould, have called for the pair to receive hefty bans and Paul Kent of the Daily Telegraph labelled their excuse it was a cultural trip as a ‘cop-out’ in this situation.
And now, NRL reporter Danny Weidler has told The Big Breakfast coaches and players were “p****d off” the pair put the planned restart of the game at risk.
“I’ve spoken to players across the game and they’re really pissed off. Coaches are really annoyed,” he said.
“I will always stick up for players but in this regard I find it really hard to justify their actions.
“A lot of people out there want to see their families. A lot of people have lost their jobs. Football staff lost their jobs. People are unable to put food on the table due to this coronavirus. They have to be better than that.”
Melbourne winger, Addo-Carr, had previously been spoken to by police about social-distancing measures in Sydney.
While those weren't known or reported, NRL great Laurie Daley hoped the spotlight on Addo-Carr and South Sydney's Mitchell after their fines would scare any other players out of breaking NRL or government protocols.
"I think it's made more people more aware of what their responsibilities are," Daley told Sky Sports Radio.
"I think they will see what these two guys are about to face and think I don't want to be doing that.
"I don't want to put my game at risk or be on the back page of the paper and get myself in trouble.
"Now it's out in the open, other athletes will be sitting back and going it's not acceptable, this isn't what the community wants us to do and we're putting people at risk."
Phil Gould calls for year-long suspensions
Phil Gould even called for the pair to be banned for the rest of the year.
“Honestly, they don't deserve to be playing this year. Simple as that,” he told Wide World of Sports Radio.
“I know that might seem harsh, but the message has to get through to everybody.
“What they've done is highly irresponsible. It's put themselves above their teammates, their club and the game itself and that might seem like a harsh penalty but these are very, very difficult times and it was just uncalled for.
“Particularly when we're on the eve of trying to get back and particularly that the game was trying to convince the government that we can follow strict protocols and act outside the rest of society.”
Reporter Kent didn’t think the ‘cultural’ excuse was justified in this context.
“To try and come out and say a couple of blokes were struggling and wanted to get back to culture, that’s just an excuse,” Kent said.
“In the fair dinkum stakes, everybody is doing it a little bit tough to different degrees but we’re all doing it a bit tough. We’re all stuck at home, so we’re all going through a bit.
“Second to that, as far as the culture goes, I get going and having a camp. But riding motorbikes and shooting guns I don’t think is what aboriginal people regard as their culture. That’s just a cop-out.