You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Whatever Pearce’s punishment, make sure he learns from it

The Roar logo The Roar 28/01/2016 Greg Prichard
© Getty Images/Cameron Spencer

When you consider the Mitchell Pearce incident and try to decide what sort of punishment you believe it deserves, you've got to look at it two ways.

Do you give it what it’s worth, on face value? Or do you hit him with a penalty that might be a bit beyond that, but which, in the end, could actually help him?

It’s got to be the latter, because Pearce could do with a bit of help.

Remember, there is no absolutely right answer to the question of punishment. It’s all a matter of opinion.

If you decide you want to go for broke and hang him high, you might want to first remember that we all make mistakes and that if you haven’t done something you regret you must be an angel.

But some things are obviously way worse than others, and Pearce has erred badly with his behaviour on Australia Day. Plus, he already had form when it came to misbehaviour.

On its own, the incident is probably worth a suspension for half of the regular season – 12 matches – and a $50,000 fine. Just my opinion.

But to try to do something that might actually help him, suspending him for the entire season and making him adhere to conditions that include alcohol counselling and working in a real job sounds better. For him.

Then, at the end of the season, his situation could be reviewed and a decision made, based on his honest progress, about whether he should be registered to play in the 2017 season.

Perhaps, if he did well, he could earn an earlier review and potentially play a part in his team’s campaign this season.

There are people who think the game should just get rid of Pearce for good right now. That, at 26, he is old enough to know better and should pay the ultimate price in terms of his career. But that’s going too far.

I understand the frustration people have with the sense of entitlement some players have.

But I also wish for the sake of the younger players that the game was more like in previous eras, going back to the 1970s and ’80s, for instance, when if players got out of line they would immediately be pulled back into line by the senior players – the team leaders.

Where were the team leaders when Pearce was getting out of control after a boat cruise that he went on with other Sydney Roosters players? Who are the team leaders? Obviously, Pearce is supposed to be one of them, which isn’t a good start, but couldn’t someone have taken him in hand.

Remember when former AFL star Brendan Fevola misbehaved atrociously at the 2009 Brownlow Medal award function?

He was filming interviews for Channel Nine’s The Footy Show and was obviously way out of control, but no-one intervened. Some of his Carlton teammates were at the awards, but even they didn’t appear to do anything to stop the trainwreck.

Someone should have put him in a headlock and dragged him away, to try to at least limit the fallout.

What happened when Pearce got off the boat from that cruise? Why was he allowed to continue on and end up in the trouble that he’s in now? Surely the signs weren’t good and someone could have intervened?

Maybe he was just determined to keep going and no-one was going to stop him, I don’t know, but it just seems that in these days of leadership groups, the leadership is often lacking.

Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day, Pearce has to be accountable for his own actions. He has stuffed up big-time, brought the game into disrepute, and now must face the music.

Exactly what will happen to him remains to be seen, but it won’t mean anything if he doesn’t learn from it, so best make sure it’s a good lesson.

More From The Roar

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon