The NRL’s Position On “Celebrating” Michael Jennings 300th Game Is A Strange One…

Sydney Roosters centre Michael Jennings will play his 300th NRL game this weekend.

After serving a ban for using performance enhancing drugs, and being found guilty of sexually abusing his ex-wife in a civil court case, Jennings was surprisingly signed by the Sydney Roosters over the off season, and even more surprisingly than that, the NRL was willing to register his contract to become an NRL player once again.

Now…the NRL has said that it will not “celebrate” Michael Jennings playing his 300th game.

Cool…..I guess that means they won’t paint “300” on the field then…..

It’s a strange decision by the NRL. They have said they are happy for Jennings to represent the Roosters, and the National Rugby League, playing football as a representative of the sport as it is played in front of big crowds and broadcast on television. That is all perfectly fine.

But don’t go running out there celebrating 300 games, just play your 300th game with “our blessing”.

It doesn’t really make much sense does it? It’s mixed messaging.

So “300” won’t be painted on the field. How about a guard of honour as he runs out? Will he be allowed to run out on the field with family members? Will broadcasters be told not to mention his 300th game? In other words, where is the line for what continues a celebration, because the fact is that the NRL is more than happy with Jennings having the opportunity to play 300 games, they just don’t want there to be a big song and dance over it.

If the NRL is embarrassed that Jennings is a part of the NRL, thats on them. They had the opportunity to not register his contract. They could have rejected the Sydney Roosters request to have him join their club.

The NRL chose to allow him to play. The NRL had their chance to set a standard, to say “No, we won’t be allowing you back” and they turned it down and allowed Jennings to run out there and earn his 300th call up as a first grader.

Thats what makes this all feel like a bit of a double standard. It feels more like virtue signalling than anything else.

It also makes me think about Israel Folau…

Folau said some stupid things on social media, and he copped a lot of backlash over it. Fair enough.

When Folau wanted to return to Rugby League, the NRL made a choice. They were not going to allow him to sign with a club. They wouldn’t register his contract because of social media posts.

If that was the standard, and that was a decision the NRL took that they felt was a way to protect the game, then fair enough.

That doesn’t line up however with the league welcoming back players who have literally physically harmed people. That makes no sense at all.

There NRL no doubt just wanted this 300th game of Michael Jennings to go by quietly. They wished no one had brought it up. However, by Andrew Abdo coming out and saying the NRL will not be celebrating Jennings 300th game, the “Streisand effect” kicked in and now, it is the leading issues people are now talking about.

To be honest, it’s probably fitting. Its an issue a lot of supporters of the game are not comfortable with at all, and its good that the NRL will be hearing from those people this week.

Just for the record, I wouldn’t have even thought about registering Jennings contract, and I can’t believe the Roosters signed him in the first place.

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