New South Wales State of Origin player and Sydney Roosters captain Mitchell Pearce has been stood down by his club pending an investigation into an alcohol-fuelled incident on Australia Day.
A video showing Pearce simulating sex with a dog was aired on the Nine Network on Wednesday evening.
The intoxicated player can be seen in the video forcing an unwanted kiss on a female, who rejects his advances and says “I am a lesbian” before he kisses her.
Speaking at a media conference on Thursday morning, Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson said Pearce’s behaviour was ‘unacceptable’.
“Mitchell’s behaviour was unacceptable…and that’s why he has been stood down until the matter is resolved,” Robinson said.
“We are going through discussing it with the NRL. I can’t really comment on anything else until this is resolved with the NRL.
“I know people will have their views but for us at this time, it’s between us and the NRL to resolve.
“The behaviour was unacceptable and we understand that. At the Roosters, we can’t accept that and we won’t.”
Robinson added that he had spoken with Pearce, both on Wednesday and Thursday.
The NRL integrity unit will assist the Roosters in the investigation.
Ex-NRL bad boy Mark Geyer called for Pearce to be given a 12-month NRL ban on Triple M radio.
“He needs to be suspended for 12 months, get a real job away from football and undergo both counselling and rehab,” Geyer said.
“He needs to be taken out of the system that he joined as a kid to appreciate what he’s got.
“He is obviously powerless when affected by alcohol and cannot control his behaviour. Pearce needs help and needs to be as far away from footy as possible.”
During the video, Pearce turned his attention to the woman’s dog, announcing: “I’ll f*** that dog, I don’t give a f***, I don’t have a sexuality.”
Pearce, who was shirtless but wearing shorts, was then seen to simulate sex with the woman’s dog.
The woman tells him to stop but Pearce continues to simulate sex with the animal before the woman takes the dog away and tells him to leave.
Pearce again states what he would like to do to the animal.
“I want to f*** your dog, I don’t even care anymore.”
The woman then suggested Pearce had also urinated on her couch.
Earlier on Australia Day, the 26-year-old had earlier in the day posted photographs on Instagram of himself and Roosters teammates heading out for a harbour cruise.
A photo posted by Mitchell Pearce (@mitchpearce_7) on
Pearce, whose father Wayne is an Australian Rugby League commissioner and a former New South Wales State of Origin captain, has previously been involved in off-field incidents that made headlines.
He was fined $20,000 and stood down from an NRL match in 2014 following his role in an incident involving a female patron in a Kings Cross nightclub.
That incident also cost Pearce his spot on the Blues’ line-up for State of Origin I that year.
‘This has brought the game into disrepute’
ABC Grandstand’s senior rugby league commentator Andrew Moore said Pearce had previously been warned to stay away from alcohol.
“He has had issues with the drink for far too long and won’t address it,” he said.
“His father is someone I’ve known for two decades or more, one of the ultimate cleanskins of rugby league and someone who is on the board of the ARL Commission.”
“I’ve seen it on social media, ‘Isn’t this what drunken boys do?’ Well no, it’s not,” he said.
“And if it is what drunken boys do, well we’ve got a bigger problem across society than I ever imagined. It’s not what people do.”
Canberra, the Roosters and Cronulla each parted ways with Todd Carney during his NRL career, with the Sharks sacking the playmaker in 2014 after a photo emerged on social media of him appearing to urinate into his mouth.
The Raiders sacked Joel Monaghan after a photo was published on Twitter of the former Australia and New South Wales representative simulating a lewd act with a dog in 2010.
Parramatta legend Peter Sterling has weighed in on the incident and says Pearce will pay for his transgressions.
“We’re talking about a guy now who’s got form and is one of the leading players in our game,” Sterling told Triple M’s Rush Hour.
“This will be deemed to have brought the game into disrepute.
“You have to ask yourself how many times is that going to be abided and, when you get to this stage, how heavy do the NRL and the Roosters come down on him?
“The guys have got every right to be out on Australia Day, on a boat enjoying themselves.
“The vast majority of the Roosters had a great time and went home; Mitchell should have done the same thing.”
The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) issued a statement on Wednesday night saying it was not appropriate to comment on the circumstances of the case without knowing all the facts.
“We understand the club will conduct an internal investigation and that the NRL Integrity Unit has asked for a report into the matter.
“But the Association has been in touch with club and NRL officials to reinforce that any investigation must follow due process, which we have been assured will occur in this matter.
“The RLPA will provide Pearce with appropriate wellbeing support as needed.”
– with AAP and ABC