Ben Barba was sacked from the North Queensland Cowboys and deregistered from the NRL.
Ben Barba was sacked from the North Queensland Cowboys and deregistered from the NRL.

OUR SAY: NRL is setting a standard for the rest of society

IN MANY ways the NRL is like a microcosm of society.

The same issues we see in our own community - drug abuse, violence, mistreatment of women - exist in the NRL and every sporting code.

These issues are writ large when our sporting heroes are embroiled in scandals.

There have been countless examples over the years.

The latest is Ben Barba, who stands accused of domestic violence against the mother of his four daughters.

It was heartening to see the North Queensland Cowboys and the NRL act swiftly in cutting ties with Mr Barba after viewing footage of the alleged incident.

As Origin legend Colin Scott said, playing rugby league is a privilege not a right.

These players earn a lot of money, but not just because they are exceptional players.

They are paid well because they are role models and they represent the game they love.

The kind of behaviour that reflects poorly on the game is no longer acceptable.

Changing the culture of a sporting code is challenging.

It's hard to change attitudes in society too.

But slowly we are seeing less and less tolerance for poor treatment of women and violence in general.

Some may argue that NRL players are being held to a higher standard than the rest of the community and that might be true.

But I believe the code is setting a standard for all of us through its actions.