Changing a culture is hard work

This headline caught my attention “Jennings could hardly talk at 4.30pm”.

The story is about a wellknown Sydney rugby league player who was under the influence of alcohol when he came to afternoon training and when it was 24 hours to their next game.

The club, in their defence, took strong action against the player, “Jennings attended the disciplinary hearing with his manager, …’In the strongest possible terms, Michael has been told that behaviour of this nature will not be tolerated ever again and he is on his final warning.'”

But this still reinforces the perception of the culture of this sport in the minds of many of us in our city. This is a culture that needs to change. We have read so much about training being given to the players in respecting women and the abuse of alcohol and other substances, yet the culture seems to continue.

So, if the behavior remains, what else needs to change? My answer is plain and simple, ‘work’. This would mean the routine of going somewhere each day, learning new skills and laying the foundation for life after sport.

Here’s my ‘what if’ moment…

What if internship opportunities were mandated as part of the contract for players?

They would be interned in a career that built their skills and recognized their potential and acumen. Working in our strengths contributes to a sense of purpose and contribution. They would have routine, getting up each morning and going to work. Most importantly, the role modeling to their young fans would be invaluable. It saddens me that many young people aspire to be players or WAGs.

Changing culture is hard work.

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