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The brother of sacked Penrith Panthers star Tyrone May has taken to Instagram in a show of his support as the five-eighth faces an uncertain NRL future.
The Panthers board met on Wednesday to discuss May's future, after the 25-year-old was fiercely criticised for a an Instagram post referencing his conviction for his involvement in a sex tape scandal.
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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".
Questions continue to be asked about the Panthers players' use of social media, with May's brother Taylan, who is contracted to the club for 2022, slamming the decision to sack Tyrone.
“Realist one always stayed loyal to bad loyalty gets you no where,” Taylan wrote on a post of himself and Tyrone with the 2021 premiership trophy, along with the hashtag '#keephating'.
“It’s always just business.”
Soon after May was sacked by the Panthers, club captain and close friend Nathan Cleary also posted to his Instagram page in support of May.
“My brother no matter what. Got you always.”
Both Cleary and Taylan May have attracted significant criticism from fans and NRL pundits alike for their posts, with many questioning why they wouldn't simply show their support for their sacked former teammate in person.
Seems like much has been learnt by the Panthers playing group. I love how ‘supporting a mate’ requires public posting on social media. pic.twitter.com/Gw0NPvD0lw
— LadiesWhoLegspin (@LadiesWhoLeague) November 3, 2021
Nathan Cleary’s not that great at reading the room 😳 https://t.co/jXYGAQrMBo
— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) November 3, 2021
Tyrone May sacked by Penrith Panthers over Instagram post
After being stood down by the NRL in 2019 he 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".
Discussing May's sacking in an article for SEN, NRL commentator Andrew Voss questioned why on earth the Panthers players felt the need to constantly take to social media.
“Now the follow up, the Nathan Cleary Instagram post yesterday sticking up for his mate. I must be getting old, why not just speak to the bloke and let him know? Why the social media post?" he wrote.
“If Nathan doesn’t get that it is social media that has caused this problem to be exacerbated, then Penrith have massive problems.
“Tyrone’s brother Taylan will still be at the club next year I’m told, his post yesterday, he ripped into the club in public on social media. What the hell is going on?”
May now faces an uncertain NRL future.
"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.
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