It is hard to understand the approach of the Newcastle Knights in relation to the jailing of their player Russell Packer, writes Greg Cary.
When they finally sacked him – that is only part the story. It’s hard to play weekends when you’re locked up.
Packer was sentenced to two years for what the Magistrate, Greg Grogan, called a “cowardly and deplorable assault.” He had knocked a man to the ground and then punched and kicked him while he was lying there.
There are obviously many factors involved in stemming this kind of disgusting behaviour, but it must no longer be either excused or tolerated – by anyone.
Politicians, the judiciary, parents, friends, partners , employers, clubs and hotels all have a role to play.
Newcastle had said they would, “support the player and his family through the process.” The coach spoke of responsibilities to sponsors, the club, fans and all kinds of others, but I saw no mention of the victim.
Russell Packer should have been sacked the minute the guilty verdict was handed down.
The club said that they had to act within certain legal parameters but Packer was appealing the severity of the sentence, NOT the conviction.
In any contract there is usually a clause that allows employers to terminate the contract, should the employee bring the company/club into disrepute. Packer’s situation was hardly complex.
Loyalty is fine but, in this case, it was seriously misplaced and a wrong message sent.
The judiciary – reflecting community concerns – is finally, belatedly saying it will no longer tolerate this kind of behaviour. Sport must do likewise.