Media release from Drug-Safe Communities
An inability to effectively reduce drug use in rugby league could see sponsorships, sponsors, club supporters and players walk away from the code, warns the Founder and Managing Director of Drug-Safe Communities, Michael White.
“Over the past few days we’ve witnessed once again drug use in the NRL dominating the headlines. A pathetic and pallid lack of action by the NRL and the clubs could trigger a devastating reaction to their financial and supporter base from which they will struggle to recover.”
“Parents want their children to play in a drug-safe sporting environment. The last thing they want to see is their sons and daughters exposed to illicit drugs and ending up on the front page of the news. If the NRL and clubs are not seen to be proactive about this scourge and build role models we can all be proud to follow, there is a good chance parents will look for other sports which are using a drug-safe program and life choice”, added Mr White.
“At the same time, sponsors cannot afford to have their reputations damaged by being associated with athletes and clubs connected to drug use. There are plenty of alternative ways to invest a marketing budget that projects a positive and healthy lifestyle and it doesn’t need to be sport, it won’t take much for them to walk.”
Reputation is everything in business, particularly in today’s environment but this seems to elude the management within the NRL and their clubs. However, it hasn’t been ignored by their sponsorship. The sponsors understand how important a reputation is, and to have it trashed by fools will not be tolerated at either management or board level.”
Drug-Safe Communities is the pioneer of work place testing of alcohol and other drugs in Australia, and over the past 16 years it has delivered services which have reduced drug use across a variety of industries.
“We contacted the NRL and offered to share our expertise with them but no-one has responded.”
“Rugby league is at a crossroads. The administration can bury their heads in the sand and hope that drug use will go away, or they can introduce the methods we use in the business world and consistently reduce and manage drug use till it’s no longer an issue.”
Mr White said the time is right for sponsors to speak up and force positive change in the sport and in the community.
“I’m calling on sponsors to approach their clubs and demand that they become more pro-active about reducing drug use. The clubs’ current deterrents aren’t working. I’ve spent 16 years developing unique drug-safe services and helping large companies and organisations become drug-safe. There’s no reason why a football club cannot become a member of their drug-safe community and lead by example before they really have a crisis.”
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