With news of former Wallaby Justin Harrison being suspended from playing and coaching Rugby for eight months after admitting taking cocaine while under contract with Bath RFC brings into the spot light the problems facing Rugby Union now that the players are earning big dollars.
Harrison was released from his contract early in May prior to a misconduct hearing. He had been punched in the face at the end of season celebration. But Bath also had former England International Michael Lipman, Alex Crockett and Andrew Higgins quit the club before they were due to attend a hearing about missing a drug test. They have been quoted as saying they will ‘vigorously contest’ the charges.
The biggest problem facing all sports in the overly paid current market is players have too much time on their hands and often fall under the influence of the wrong people.
As one Super 14 player advised “Not The Footy Show” he had to get out of Sydney as there were too many bad influences. When he finished training ‘friends’ would drop around and he would buy the beers and they would start drinking at lunch time. Maybe these players need to be paid into trust funds so that they do not blow the money on alcohol and drugs. Should their employers have a duty of care to them early in their careers?
Maybe society should be less judgemental? Maybe we should not be so hard on these sports stars who if they were working in a hardware shop would simply lose their job. But then again most of us do not earn what they earn or have the hero worship that they receive along with the trappings whether they want it or not.
Money really does corrupt, of that there can be no doubt.