Parramatta star Kieran Foran says the Mitchell Pearce scandal has set a troubling precedent for players and has called for his best mate not to be sacked by the NRL.
The Sydney Roosters and NSW playmaker has checked into an overseas rehabilitation clinic to address his alcohol problems as his club weighs up punishment over his Australia Day bender.
Pearce was filmed trying to kiss a woman, simulating sex with a dog and allegedly urinating his pants at a house party, hours after being pictured drinking with Roosters teammates on a harbour cruise.
The video emerged when it was sold to media outlets and Foran says it rams home the truth that players have to be wary of who they let into their social circles.
While Foran went to great lengths to point out that Pearce’s actions weren’t up to standard, it did not sit well with him that the Roosters’ co-skipper was not aware he was being filmed and the person who made the video profited from it.
“You’ve just got to be very cautious where you go and who you wind up with because, whatever you do, you’re being watched every move,” Foran told AAP on Saturday.
“It’s unfortunate blokes can’t just go out and have a beer and Mitch’s case is a bit more than that – and he’s admitted that.
“It’s just unfortunate that people go out of their way to film stuff and profit off it, which is wrong in my eyes.”
Pearce has been stood down by the Roosters as the club faces pressure to sack their wayward star.
While taking a firm line that Pearce had done the wrong thing, New Zealand five-eighth Foran said his childhood mate would be ill-served if he was thrown out of the game.
“Footy is the one thing he needs in his life at the moment,” Foran said.
“It’s the one thing that keeps them on the straight and narrow and he’s really passionate about it. I think taking that away from him would not do the bloke any favours.”
Pearce’s reputation has taken a battering, with the NSW State of Origin playmaker – for the second time in two years – forced to make a public apology for his drunken behaviour.
The 26-year-old was dropped in 2014 from the Blues’ side and fined and suspended by the Roosters after being arrested for failing to leave a Kings Cross nightclub.
Foran and Pearce were schoolmates at Marist North Shore and St Ives North Primary School and played Australian schoolboys together before breaking into the NRL.
Foran described Pearce as likeable, friendly and diligent and the person portrayed in the now-infamous video was far removed from his real personality.
“He’s a great bloke. He’s a respectful bloke. I just can’t speak highly enough of the guy,” Foran said.
“He comes from a great family. He’s dedicated, loves his footy. I’m sure the Roosters’ boys will tell you he’s one of their hardest trainers. He’s just a quality all-round guy.
“There are some hiccups there when he’s on the booze and he’s admitted that.”