Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce is in a lot of trouble right now after video emerged of him highly intoxicated at a private party. During the video Pearce admits to pissing on the couch of the person that owns the home, before briefly simulating a sex act with her Poodle (Ironically a little bit of doggy style), at which point Pearce was told to leave by the house and dog owner, which he seemed to do without any fuss.
When I watched the video that was originally broadcast on Channel 9’s A Current Affair my first thought was that Pearce was in an environment in which NO ONE was looking out for him. I am not going to justify what he did, it was stupid, he should have known better, and he is going to pay dearly for it. However, I think it would be unfair to crucify Pearce without looking at the situation he found himself in.
Mitchell Pearce is 26 years old. On Australia Day plenty of 26 year old people across Australia got fairly drunk. Getting drunk isn’t against the law. It does open you up to being involved in bad situations you normally wouldn’t have anything to do with though. When you get drunk your ability to make decisions is affected immensely. While you are personally responsible for your actions when you are drunk, your decision making can be terrible.
I those situations you’d like to hope that you have a good group of mates around you. Not people who are responsible for you, but people who will step in when you’ve had too much, when you might be heading into a bad situation, and people who don’t want to see anything bad happen to you.
When you are surrounded by people who want to film you doing something stupid, you need to re-evaluate the people you hang around.
Mitchell Pearce isn’t just any other 26 year old. He is a high profile person whose actions are always under scrutiny. It isn’t ideal, and anyone in that situation may felt hard done by to be under such a spotlight, but that is when you look at your yearly salary and suck it up. When you are getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do ANYTHING, one of your main priorities should be to not jeopardize your job. If that means you have quiet nights in, only maintain a very small, trustworthy circle of friends, and head home early before the party really gets going, it’s just what you’ve got to do.
Pearce now finds himself in a lot of hot water. He is also starting to have a bit of a track record. Pearce simply shouldn’t be in this situation. He shouldn’t be allowing himself to get into these situations at all. He has too much going for him to have to deal with something rotten like this and it is happening way too often.
It is very easy to make fun of all of this, crack a few jokes, makes some meme’s, and start looking at where this ranks on the Joel Monaghan scale of excellence in terms of Rugby League scandals. Truth be told, what Pearce did was pretty stupid and showed a lack of judgement, but is wasn’t malicious and in my opinion wasn’t anywhere near what Joel Monaghan did during his famous episode.
In a way I kind of feel sorry for Pearce. I see a video of a young bloke who needs some real guidance, some better mates, and who needs to work out when he is starting to get to that point on a night out when things could be turning bad.
No doubt Pearce will at the very least be find and face some sort of suspension. I doubt he will be sacked by the Roosters…unless they were already looking at letting him go in the near future to free up some salary cap space.
I doubt he will be de-registered by the NRL, but it is a possibility. With that in mind, do you think Pearce would now wish he went home early on Australia Day? I’m sure he would say yes to that if he could have his time over again.
We talk a lot in Rugby League about leadership and mate-ship, but time after time we see a lack of both and it keeps ending with young men finding themselves in hot water. I would have taken one person to tell Mitchell he was done for the night and to head home. Whether Pearce would have taken that advice on board is anyone’s guess. I can’t help but think that Rugby League keeps churning out youngsters, making them very well off, giving them a huge spotlight and preaching to them about personal responsibility….but none of that is enough.
Holding functions for media types to get a free feed and hear from retired players about leadership is one thing, but having actual leaders within Rugby League’s active playing group who aren’t afraid to be the voice of reason and step up before things get out of hand is something completely different.
Mitchell Pearce now finds himself in a terrible situation. Few people will have any sympathy for him. What ever the outcome is, you’d hope that this is the wake-up call he needs to start making better decisions on nights out where alcohol is involved.