NRL legend’s harrowing childhood


THE NRL has endured a nightmare off-season with several incidents landing players in trouble with the law.

And in an emotionally charged message, former player Luke Lewis delivered powerful words to the playing group surrounding off-field behaviour.

The conversation on Wednesday's NRL 360 centred around St George Illawarra's James Graham saying the game attracts a certain "personality type" due to the aggression, which partly explains the recent torrent of bad behaviour.

Lewis wasn't happy with those comments from Graham and didn't bite his tongue when speaking on the subject.

"You've either got morals, or you don't," Lewis fired on NRL 360.

"My morals are: you do not belt a woman. That's just how it is.

"I'm a proud ambassador of White Ribbon and I just don't respect any man that goes out and belts a woman. It's just not right.

"If we're going to sit there and talk about our game changing and our culture changing, if you're going to come into the game and get paid ridiculously well and you can't change your morals because 'we've got to change the culture' - you've got to change the culture mentally. You're the one who's got to turn up and say 'I don't want to belt women, I want to be a different person, I want to be a role model' and if you don't want to do it, then don't play our game.

"You just treat women with respect and it's done, you don't have any dramas."

The outburst from Lewis hit close to home as he explained just why he felt so strongly about the topic.

"Because I've seen my mum (experience) a lot of domestic violence at home.

"I've seen my mum get dragged down the hallway by her hair and get bashed. It's not a good feeling.

"It goes through to the kids and the kids see it all the time, but the only one who's going to change is the bloke who's experienced it themselves.

"So if I experienced it as a kid and I don't want to see it and I don't want to see my daughter go through it, I'm the one who's got to make the change. No one else is going to make me change unless I make the decision to do it.

"How's it all come out about 'this is our background, this is that'.

"You either believe in it and you buy into it, or you're just a grub. That's my personal opinion."