‘Invasion of privacy’: Bulldogs break silence on Mad Monday
THE Bulldogs have broken their silence for the first time since being slapped with a $250,000 breach notice from the NRL, apologising to fans and members for behaviour during Mad Monday celebrations.
In a statement to members and fans released on the club website, chair Lynne Anderson and chief executive Andrew Hill said the behaviour was unacceptable and a bad look for the game.
The statement sought to clarify facts that were misreported at the time, also hitting out at media coverage of the scandal - describing as an "invasion of privacy".
"Our players were celebrating the end of their season at a private function at a venue that they had used for three consecutive years," the statement read.
"The function was in a private area on the third floor and there was no access to the public. This was consistent with previous years.
"The invasion of privacy that has followed and the subsequent stories that evolved have had a major impact on the individuals involved, their families and the club.
"What we need to remember here is that these are good people who have worked hard within the community and our club. It is important that we remember this as we deal with the fallout from this situation. We as a club will stand by our people and support them as part of the Bulldogs family."
The Bulldogs confirmed they had submitted a response to the breach notice they were hit with after pictures emerged of players vomiting, passing out and exposing themselves at an establishment in Sydney.
Two players were subsequently charged by NSW Police, and the hotel was issued with five penalty notices in relation to the incidents.
Long-time sponsor Jaycar also pulled their support for the 2019 season, believed to be worth $500,000.
The Bulldogs fined players Adam Elliott, Asipeli Fine, Marcelo Montoya and Zac Woolford for their behaviour during the end of season celebrations, and the club also confirmed staff, including coaching staff, were in attendance.
The statement clarified that Lachlan Lewis was not at the event, although early reports suggested he was.
The Bulldogs said they had attempted to make contact with Jaycar the morning after the event, despite the company founder Gary Johnston saying he did not hear from the club.
The statement also said a report of a GoFundMe page being set up by a member of staff was incorrect.
"We are now in the process of a full review of the day that has included speaking with both players and staff," the statement read.
"All parties involved have acknowledged that there was behaviour on the day that was not up to the standards expected by our club and that stronger processes should have been in place to prevent and react to it differently.
"We will now put steps in place to make sure that we respond to the learnings of this review and have submitted our response to the NRL breach notice."