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Ryan Hoffman's wife challenges NRL clubs to 'stamp out larrikin culture' after latest wave of domestic violence charges

The wife of former Warriors captain and Storm veteran Ryan Hoffman has challenged NRL clubs to "stamp out larrikin culture" after another off-season littered with domestic violence charges against players.

Mel Hoffman, whose husband retired this season after 16 years in the NRL, wrote on her website she is heartbroken to be part of a community where domestic violence is so common.

"I have quite literally lost count of the number of NRL players who are currently accused of assaulting women over the years.

"It is frightening, appalling, and as violence always is, utterly unacceptable." she said.

While Hoffman doesn't refer to any specific cases in her column piece, it comes just weeks after the NRL was rocked by the arrests of stars Jarryd Hayne and Jack De Belin for separate sexual violence charges. Manly's Dylan Walker has also been charged for assaulting his fiancee.

Hoffman applauded the NRL for being one of the few sports to address the issue with "a variety of creative and engaging ways" at trainings but more needs to be done.

"Sure, many professional workplaces have anti-discrimination and bullying training, but these are a bunch of blokes who are annually reminded specifically that violence, or any kind of abuse against women, is not acceptable.

"Let me just say that again: it is someone's job to sit down with groups of fully functioning adult human beings, and make sure they understand that it is wrong to hurt women.

"It's a sad state of affairs, but if it goes any way to helping protect at-risk women then I'm glad that this type of training exists."

Hoffman believes the issue stems from the fact players and clubs seem to live by a different set of rules in every day life.

"Footballers don't line up to get into nightclubs. Footballers don't get sick leave, parental leave or public holidays. Footballers get to jump medical queues. Footballers are customarily encouraged (or not discouraged) to go out and drink to excess in a celebration of a job well done.

"In some cases, footballers don't have to pay for their education. Or their shoes. Or their clothes. Or their cars. Footballers are subject to physical and mental working conditions that in any other workplace would be considered unsafe at best.

"Footballers play 'pranks' on one another in the workplace that are the textbook definition of harassment, whereas others in the real world have been disciplined for much, much less."

While Hoffman said there is no easy fix, having women in positions of power throughout the NRL could help.

"Given the diabolical consequences that are being faced by women everywhere, both involved in the industry and beyond, it would be great to see NRL clubs backing up their anti-violence training with some changes to approach and therefore to the powerful subconscious messaging.

"Step up the professionalism. Stamp out the larrikin culture. Put women in positions of real power. Align your behavioural policies with those of the rest of professional Australia. Simply put, send the message – the rules absolutely apply to you too."

Ryan Hoffman is consoled by his wife at the end of the match.
Vodafone Warriors v  Canberra Raiders. NRL Rugby League. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Sunday 13 August 2017 © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz
Ryan Hoffman is consoled by his wife Mel at the end of a Warriors match in 2017. Source: Photosport


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