The Panthers’ post-Grand Final shenanigans have come back to bite them and the club has been slammed for having its “head in the sand”.
Penrith Panthers have been slammed again over their reaction to Tyrone May’s infamous post-Grand Final Instagram post.
On Tuesday, the NRL handed down breach notices and fines to Nathan Cleary, Stephen Crichton and May. Cleary was fined $7000 and Crichton $4000 after they were seen in photos posted on social media disrespecting the NRL premiership trophy after it had reportedly been broken during a function.
May was also fined $7500 after a controversial social media post that many interpreted as a reference to his sex tape scandal.
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May pleaded guilty to four counts of intentionally recording an intimate image without consent in November 2019 and was sentenced to a three-year good behaviour bond and 300 hours of community service and psychological intervention.
May returned to the Panthers in the 2020 season and has played 37 games over the past two seasons.
His now-deleted Instagram post made reference to the song Fair Trade by Canadian rapper Drake.
“And the dirt that they threw on my name/turned to soil and I grew up out it/time for y’all to figure out what y’all gon’ do about it,” the caption read.
The Panthers added to May’s punishment from the NRL, saying he had been “stood down from all club-related duties and appearances until further notice”.
It’s reported May will have to face the club’s board of directors and his future is now uncertain.
Daily Telegraph journalist David Riccio and NRL commentator Andrew Voss fired up on SEN’s Breakfast with Vossy, slamming Penrith’s “weak-kneed” reaction to the May scandal.
Voss questioned why the Panthers welcomed May back after his sex tape scandal.
“What the hell is the message, ‘We are standing Tyrone May down for social media posts?’” Voss said. “How could they have stood by him then (when May was sentenced)? Why not have sacked him then?
“Stood down for the social media posts, c’mon.”
Riccio echoed Voss’ sentiments.
“I’ve gone on record and called on the Dogs to sever ties with Adam Elliott after a series of off-field incidents in relation to his off-field behaviour,” he said. “I thought it would be an indication of where the Bulldogs stand in their culture and standard, what they want to be as a footy club.
“Well, now we’ll see what Penrith management stand for because as far as I’m concerned, they’ve been nothing but weak-kneed up until this point.
“It’s been 18 days since the Grand Final. Eighteen days. In one of the US sports, if one of the athletes posted a similar message to what Tyrone May posted, the contract would have been torn up already.
“Eighteen days we’ve waited for this. And you know what they’ve come back with? ‘Stood down from club duties’ when they’re on holidays. What the hell does that mean? Honestly.
“I’ll say another thing, I’d say the Panthers management would have their head in the sand over this given that the Panthers own club Instagram account liked the caption that Tyrone May posted. I find that alarming.
“The other thing is that club were bleeding. They’ll tell anyone who wants to listen and in 2019 when the sex videos emerged and the allegations emerged at the time at the start of that season in relation to Tyrone May, it rocked the entire club. And everyone will tell you as much.
“They won two of 10 to start the season and they never really recovered – they finished 10th that year. If the pain wasn’t enough in writing off an entire season, for these players now, a majority of his teammates, to come out and like a post that somehow he’s been justified by winning a premiership after aiding and abetting the write-off of their 2019 season, it speaks more to … what’s going on out there?
“And there are elements within that club that are filthy, and rightly so, namely Greg Alexander, who has been vocal on this subject, and other key members of that coaching staff at the Panthers that are filthy that they have worked their backsides off to finally win a premiership and it’s been overtaken by these headlines and a social media post from Tyrone May that stood up there for days.”
Penrith legend Alexander, who broke down in tears on live TV after the Panthers’ win, called for the players to “pull their heads in” earlier this month after celebration videos flooded onto social media.
On the Big Sports Breakfast, Dean Ritchie said the punishments handed out to Penrith stars were “just about right”, calling the Panthers’ post-Grand Final antics “unsavoury”.
He added that all clubs should take a lesson from the Panthers, in that “the trophy stays at home and your bloody mobile phones go in the top draw of the hotel room and leave them there”.