CEO of the National Rugby League, Dave Smith, has today confirmed the NRL will begin a crackdown on its players owning or playing video games after a public backlash against games such as Grand Theft Auto V, which has been accused by some of promoting violence against women.
Following retailers Target and Kmart’s decisions to pull GTA V from their shelves, the NRL is looking to take things one step further and ban all players from playing any form of video game.
“Even when it was the players, I knew it was video games,” Smith told reporters on Monday. “Rugby league players misbehaving directly coincides with the rise of video games over the last 20 years. We have deliberated long and hard and have decided to implement an official anti-gaming policy. Any player caught owning or playing video games or video gaming paraphernalia will face at least 12 months on the sidelines and a minimum fine of $10,000.”
The NRL anti-gaming policy will take effect from January 1st, with the Integrity Unit set to complete random spot checks on players through out 2015 to ensure no player is in possession of banned games.
Premiers South Sydney are one of the clubs believed to have a strong gaming culture, with officials ready to heap the blame of earlier off-field issues onto the popular entertainment medium.