Written by Callum Walker
Living in a world where safety is by far and away the number one concern of almost every person, the choice of whether or not to break protocols seems a straightforward one.
Of course, for some, that doesn’t hit the right note and a trio of Super League players have been hit with fines and 14-day bans for breaching the Rugby Football League’s COVID-19 protocols.
Wigan halfback Jackson Hastings, Huddersfield forward James Gavet and Warrington’s Riley Deal are the ones receiving the fines and the bans, though Hastings’ suspension has already elapsed. That in itself has led to criticism; how can a player be banned for a two-week period that he has already played in? Sometimes the RFL just doesn’t help itself.
Meanwhile, Gavet’s ban lasts until 27 August and Dean’s until 30 August. The two-week ban is in line with the government’s recommended self-isolation period, from the date of when the misdemeanour occurred.
It’s imperative that breaches like this are punished, and the RFL has acted swiftly and in the right manner to do so. The current climate means that any violations that do occur could impact on not just the player’s own family, but their club and opposition clubs as well.
👀 The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted @KendallRef wearing a special commemorative shirt during Saturday’s @TheChallengeCup game, to celebrate 125 years of Rugby League.
🙌 All of our Match Officials will don these for @SuperLeague games on anniversary weekend too. pic.twitter.com/ziirnCHeAp
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) August 24, 2020
Whilst the majority of clubs and players have been responsible and disciplined, it only takes one to disrupt the whole equilibrium to ruin it for the rest of the league. And, though clubs themselves have been given the responsibility to set their own guidelines, the governing body has shown its strength by punishing anyone willing to flaunt them – that can only stand the RFL in good stead as it looks to protect the game.
For the governing body’s message to really hit home, though, such issues as Hastings being able to play two games cannot continue. That only serves to undermine what the RFL is trying to do, and that is to keep everyone associated with the game safe.
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