English second rower Gareth Hock has been serving a two year drug suspension for cocaine use.
Yesterday, Wigan announced that coming out of that two year suspension, they had signed Hock to a five year contract.
What a disgraceful, embarrassing day, not only for Wigan Rugby League club, but for Rugby League in Great Britain in general.
Hock rightfully did his time for taking cocaine. He deserves zero sympathy and the game does not owe him anything because of it. He made the decision to snort drugs, he is a grown man, he can deal with the consequences.
Wigan, for some reason, have been desperate to hold onto Hock. To make she that when he returns to the game, he goes back to them.
Hock is not a special player. There are better players at Wigan right now than Gareth Hock.
So Hock serves his suspension and, in one of the worst decisions in the game I have ever seen, Wigan signs him to a ridiculous five year contract.
The message this sends on so many levels is just terrible.
First of all, to come out of a drugs suspension and be rewarded with a deal like this is sickening. What message does this send to youngsters in the game? Its cool, do cocaine, do it early, and when you come back, Rugby League won’t just embrace you, it will reward you above and beyond anything you could have expected before hand.
Then there is the absolute desperation that this move is dripping with. If Rugby League in Great Britain is at such a low, that a player who has served a drugs ban can command a massive contract like this, then the game is well on its way to dying out completely. Its that simple.
Then for the club to hail it like it is some triumphant return, like this is a positive thing. It is crass. It is typical of the type of thing British Rugby League has become famous for. Moves that have nothing to do with performance, and everything to do with stroking the ego of a select few within the sport.
How could Wigan fans possibly show anger towards Chris Ashton, who left Wigan never to return and has forged a great career in Rugby Union, when the club decides to commit to someone like Hock over a youngster like Ashton was.
This is a disgrace. This is the type of move that would not be allowed to happen if the Rugby Football League actually had some type of strong leadership and respect in the game.
I’ve got no problem with Hock coming back and playing the game. However, to return to a five year contract….unbelievable!
Everyone that has any interest in seeing Rugby League not die out in Great Britain should be up in arms about this disgraceful example Wigan has given to people who follow this sport. This makes a mockery of the game and the people who run the Wigan club should be ashamed of themselves.
If Wigan has come to a point where it wants to triumphantly reward a disgraced drug user, then they deserve all the ridicule they get.
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