Australian Rugby League to Ban All Drinking?

Australia’s National Rugby League usually only makes headlines over here (aside: do they call us Up Over? Because of Down Under? They should.) for things like Russell Crowe owning his own club, the “Rabbitohs.” That sounds more like a really unappetizing cereal. I digress.

(I for one am stunned that this team is one of the worst in the league.)

After an allegation of sexual assault by a Brisbane woman, however, David Gallop, the National Rugby League chief, has decided to forego the regular warnings to act responsibly and instead dives straight into an ocean of crazy. He’s, uh, calling for teams to not drink anymore. I am not making that up.

The NRL chief blames coaches and their clubs for giving players free licence to put themselves at risk during lengthy drinking sessions on their days off.

He believes a “see you on Monday” culture has developed following Friday night games, causing immeasurable damage to rugby league’s reputation.

“The reward for winning can’t be long drinking sessions,” Gallop said.

There are your three most dangerous words, it seems: “See you Monday.” Weirdly, that’s what most people say to their co-workers as they leave for the weekend. And the vast, vast majority of those people don’t go out and sexually assault anybody (other than themselves while watching Cinemax after the wife falls asleep, of course).

Look. If Gallop’s goal is that nobody is ever mistreated by a drunken player of his ever again, that’s admirable, especially when we start talking about sexual misconduct. There’s obviously no begrudging that. But there are already rules to help prevent that kind of behavior, and they’re commonly referred to as, you know, THE LAW.

Further, we’re talking about young men whose livelihoods are couched in violence and testosterone. They need a release. Taking away everyone’s pints can hardly end well–well, unless Gallop’s going to start handing out blunts left and right.  That’ll change the culture around the NRL.