We’ve dropped the ball when it comes to giving sound instruction and example to boys and young men, writes Monica Doumit in the Catholic Weekly.
What did they think was going to happen? You take boys straight out of high school, put them into professional sporting teams where their only real task is to increase their strength and fitness, separate them from family and friends while they travel around the country to compete, and pay them lots of money to simply play football.
We hear story after story of wild nightclub adventures, sex scandals and side payments. Apart from the occasional headline and a subsequent fine for bad behaviour, nothing ever seems to be done.
The way the league is run teaches its young men that they can generally pay their way out of a scandal and return to the field the following weekend.
Given this, can we really be surprised that Bryce Cartwright – with the assistance of a former NRL player and the tacit approval of his general manager – thought it appropriate to pay his way out of another “problem”, the conception of his child with then-girlfriend, “Miss X”.
Cartwright was 21-years-old, and had reportedly just signed a contract worth $2.6 million over five years. For all of the talk about respect for women and the Women in League program, the practices seem to suggest that this is little more than lip service.
The Catholic Church has just been through the Royal Commission, and there was a fair amount of focus on ensuring young men entering the seminary received proper psychosexual development throughout their training. This is because it was acknowledged that in removing them from ‘normal’ life, the Church has a responsibility to ensure that they are formed in a way which ensures they have the ability to develop proper relationships.
There is also a general understanding that young men are not accepted into seminary straight from school, because of the additional risks in separating men at a young age. While the NRL is by no means the seminary, there are definitely some parallels. Maybe it, like the seminaries, should have compulsory psychological testing and formation in psychosexual development for its players.
‘Not my problem’ the mark of a League man? (Catholic Weekly)