'Read the room': Fury at Nathan Cleary act after teammate sacked

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·Sports Reporter
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Nathan Cleary has been criticised by fans over his support for sacked teammate Tyrone May on Instagram.
Penrith Panthers captain Nathan Cleary has been criticised over an Instagram post in support of sacked teammate Tyrone May. Pictures: Getty Images

Nathan Cleary has described sacked Penrith teammate Tyrone May as his 'brother' in an Instagram post following the Panthers star's dismissal.

A variety of off-field issues culminated in the Panthers board opting to terminate May's contract on Thursday afternoon, leaving the five-eighth out of a job just weeks after winning an NRL premiership.

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May was given support by the club's co-captain Cleary who posted on Instagram: "My brother no matter what. Got you always."

It was a post on May's Instagram page, which has now been deleted in its entirety, that brought about the 25-year-old's NRL demise.

May, in the wake of the Panthers' premiership victory, made a post featuring an image of himself and coach Ivan Cleary leaving Parramatta Court.

The image was captioned with lyrics from Canadian rapper Drake which read: "And the dirt that they threw on my name turned to soil and I grew up out it. Time for y'all to figure out what y'all gon' do about it. Love my brothers".

May had been before magistrate Robyn Denes where he pleaded guilty to four counts of recording intimate images without consent.

He was sentenced to 300 hours of community work and narrowly avoided jail time with Denes describing his behaviour as "morally reprehensible".

With the saga having cost May his job, many fans were perplexed and disappointed that Cleary would make such a public display of support for the sacked player.

Tyrone May sacked by Penrith Panthers over social media posts

After being stood down by the NRL in 201, May was allowed to return to the Panthers squad and played in the club's 2020 grand final loss to Melbourne.

He came off the bench in this year's victory over the Rabbitohs and it was then that he uploaded the post which marked the beginning of the end of his 56-game Panthers career.

The post was quickly deleted, but the NRL's integrity unit whacked him with a $7500 fine for "social media posts which do not align with the values of the game".

Penrith subsequently stood the one-time Samoan international down, before the board met last Wednesday where they determined May's conduct "constituted a serious breach of his NRL playing contract".

A week later May met with the board and Penrith's directors opted to sever ties.

Tyrone May has been sacked by the Penrith Panthers over his controversial Instagram post.
After backlash over a controversial post made after Penrith's NRL grand final win, Tyrone May deleted his Instagram account entirely. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

"As a club we understand our responsibilities to the game, our corporate partners, our members and fans, and the wider rugby league community," Panthers chief executive Brian Fletcher said.

"The board observed due process in this matter and considered all relevant factors before reaching its final decision.

"Panthers will coordinate with the NRL to ensure Tyrone receives access to any support services he needs moving forward."

Penrith are already making moves to shore up a replacement with unsigned Warriors playmaker Sean O'Sullivan recently linked with a move to the club.

May, meanwhile, faces an uncertain wait to find a new team.

With AAP

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