Manipulating The Message Has Become An Art Form In The NRL

The NRL wants you to know that everyone has been cleared. Nothing happened! You can all settle down because what ever is alleged to be going on, it has nothing to do with Rugby League.

No one in Rugby League cheats. Its got to be something else. Someone outside of the game trying to infiltrate the sport for their own means…

Its hard to be a Rugby League fan these days and keep up with what is really going on. You get one message from journalists and another message from the game itself.

There is a certain section of the Rugby League fan base that does not trust journalists at all. No matter what they report and how much the facts back them up, some fans will say they are liars who are making up stories to sell papers.

That mindset is understandable in some ways. After all we have NRL clubs themselves looking to manipulate the message that goes out to fans.

With the changing face of sports media in Australia clubs have direct access to their fan base. They no longer have to go through traditional media pathways to get a message out. That means that the message they do put out to fans doesn’t get filtered by journalists in any way. Sometimes that’s a good thing! Sometimes its great for a club to be able to clear up an issue so easily. At other times though it means a club can put out a message without any scrutiny at all. When that happens and you have a club saying one thing while journalists say another, fans will almost always side with their club.

If we left it up to the NRL and its clubs to report one what is REALLY happening within the game many of the biggest issues that Rugby League has faced over the years would have never come to light. Issues involving performance enhancing drug use, salary cap cheating, domestic violence and the like would have all been swept under the carpet. That isn’t a good thing for the games health.

People that run Rugby League rarely have time to apply common sense, ethics or any sort of moral compass to a situation when at the end of the day they all live and die by results. If a player goes completely off the rails to the point where they get sacked by a club, the rest of the league doesn’t see that player as damaged goods that should be avoided at all costs. They see a player they can get at a good price. They looked past their issues and think about what that player could do for their club. It doesn’t matter what that player has been accused of. Even that player has court action hanging over them of a serious nature a club will happily go out of its way to sign that player because at the end of the day all that matters are wins and losses.

In that type of environment, do you really want the only message you receive to come from the same clubs and the same people who are willing to make those decisions?

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to win at all costs. I don’t want to be cheering on cheats, scumbags and criminals to premiership glory. I don’t want to hear the smothered, manipulated, feel good slant on a story, I want to hear the real story! I want to know what really is going on at my club and within the game.

Its never nice to find out bad news about your club. To wake up and see some of the shocking headlines that Rugby League produces can really spoil your day. You need to remember though, while it might not be nice to read, sometimes its necessary for the game to be held to account by a third party. Fans haven’t got the ability themselves to regulate Rugby League. We don’t have enough of a voice and are too easily ignored. That is where journalists are invaluable to the game. They do have the ability to call the game out publicly when needed. They can embarrass the game into fixing its problems.

You might not like journalists, you might not trust them, but they do something that makes Rugby League better in the long run. So the next time you see a story that pisses you off or that you don’t agree with, take a step back. Don’t just mindlessly attack the journalists, use it as an opportunity to ask your club some serious questions.

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