Details of a 2002 group sex incident involving members of Australia's rugby league, aired on a New Zealand news program Monday, has caused a suspension and recriminations in the sport. Six Australian rugby league players were accused by a 19-year-old of taking advantage of her.
The worst of the allegations, aired in the Four Corners television program on Monday night, came from a New Zealand woman who claimed that she was 19 when she was involved in group sex with six players from the Cronulla Sharks [of the National Rugby League]. The woman said the incident, which allegedly involved Matthew Johns and Brett Firman, had left her suicidal.
"If I had a gun I'd shoot them right now. I hate them, they're disgusting," she said.
Police investigated the charges at the time and no charges were filed. Nonetheless, Johns Tuesday lost his job as a rugby commentator and as an assistant coach. The NRL president also apologized. Johns admitted being involved in the group sex with the woman, but said it was consensual. One coach was quoted as saying it was team-bonding experience. Details from the show seemed pretty graphic:
The woman said two men rubbed their [penises] in her face while others stood watching and touching themselves. Six men had sex with her while another six looked on. One or two even climbed into the room through the bathroom window. There was always someone touching her, the victim said.
She added: "More and more men came into the room. There was a queue at the end of the bed...when one stopped, another was doing stuff to me... I felt like a piece of meat... I felt worthless."
Following a 2004 sex scandal, the NRL started training to try and change the culture towards women within the rugby world. A rape counselor and an academic who are helping the NRL said the league has made strides in not tolerating abuse toward women and in changing the "boys will be boys" culture. The attitudes Down Under sound distressing similar to those among many American athletes toward women.