The Rabbitohs have been slammed after the club CEO announced Sam Burgess is set for a new coaching role next year.
In a report last week, The Australian newspaper outlined a number of serious allegations of drug use and domestic violence against Burgess, who has stood down from his assistant coach position at South Sydney and a media role.
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Furthermore, the NSW medical watchdog is investigating the role of any and all health providers who may be linked to allegations of serious misconduct by Burgess.
Burgess has denied the accusations.
But this week, speaking to fans in a video that was uploaded on the Souths website, CEO Blake Solly announced Burgess would take up a coaching role at the club next year.
“Sam Burgess and (ex-Souths star) John Sutton will be the coaches of our SG Ball team, which is a first,’’ Solly said.
Despite the claim, The Sydney Morning Herald reported the club will wait for the NRL Integrity Unit and NSW Police to finish their investigations before giving Burgess the green light.
The news from Solly came as a shock to Rugby League writer Andrew Webster, who called it ‘tone-deaf’.
“I couldn’t believe the story in the Herald today that Blake Solly has told the members that Sam Burgess will be one of the junior coaches at Souths next year,” Webster told Big Sports Breakfast radio on Friday.
“I think that’s completely tone deaf given what is going on at the moment. If you’re not going to say anything publicly and that’s it, that’s the one thing you probably shouldn’t say.”
Webster said he felt the Rabbitohs’ powerbrokers hadn’t handled the Burgess scandal well.
“The way that South Sydney powerbrokers have handled this is terrible. I can’t believe that Blake Solly or (chairman) Nick Pappas or Russell Crowe haven’t put their head up,” he added.
The Rabbitohs will take on Parramatta on Saturday in the NRL semi-final.
South Sydney club statement on Burgess
"The allegations in today’s The Australian newspaper are very concerning and the Club is treating them with the utmost seriousness," the statement read last week.
"There is no place in our society for violence, harassment or abuse against women. If anyone is found guilty of allegations of this nature, the Club will take the strongest possible action.
"The Club takes issues of drug use very seriously and has well-established policies and procedures in place around the use of performance enhancing or illicit/recreational/prescription drugs. The Club will continue to work closely with ASADA and the NRL which administer testing of the players.
"The Club will also continue to work with the playing group to support their wellbeing and educate them about drug use.
"The Rabbitohs welcome the NRL Integrity Unit’s investigation in relation to these allegations and will fully cooperate with the investigation.
"The Club is supportive of Sam Burgess’s decision to step down from his role at the Club while the NRL Integrity Unit investigation is underway.”