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Andrew Abdo ‘disappointed’ with Panthers grand final celebrations, Tyrone May, Nathan Cleary

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has confirmed the league has spoken to members of the Penrith Panthers, declaring some of the club’s grand final celebrations “disappointing”.

In the aftermath of Penrith’s win over the Rabbitohs, a number of incidents have taken attention away from the premiership triumph.

The NRL’s integrity unit is currently investigating several matters.

Penrith’s Tyrone May was heavily criticised for a controversial social media post that referenced his sex tape scandal, while he also found himself, alongside superstar Nathan Cleary, answering questions surrounding an alleged border breach from a group who the duo was familiar with.

The Panthers were also probed by the NRL after the iconic Provan-Summons trophy was badly damaged and sent back to Sydney for repairs. The broken trophy trended on social media after it was placed in a pram.

Abdo didn’t mention any incident in particular, but confirmed the NRL had “spoken to the club”.

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“That’s part of the data-gathering process, part of our investigation. I’m not going to say what we have spoken about, but of course we speak to the club and the players involved,” he said.

“I’m not going to comment on specifics now because we’re in the middle of looking at each of these instances. I’m looking to wrap that up quickly, hopefully this week.

NRL to investigate the Panthers over damaged Provan-Summons trophy

“But any time we’re in the news for the wrong reasons is disappointing for us.

“Some of the actions are disappointing, we now need to determine whether they are a breach of the rules. If they are, we will take appropriate action.

“Clearly they are not the headlines we want following what was a magnificent grand final.”

The CEO said it was important players understood how the game was portrayed across all media platforms.

“There are two things here: one is if your actions are a clear breach of the rules or not in line with the standards, regardless of whether that is on social media or not, we need to deal with that,” he said.

“The second is how that gets played out publicly. Even if people are not breaking the rules necessarily, but are posting information that is offensive to some people or can be perceived to be offensive or disrespectful to some people, that’s not good for us from an inclusion perspective, that’s not good for us from a brand and reputational perspective.

“There are two elements; have they broke the rules and have they caused damage to the game more broadly?

“Even if we don’t take action on every matter, I think there’s a learning and an opportunity to work with everyone, players and clubs and the game on how we want to position the game, what we think is the right way for that to be positioned on social media and other platforms.”

Penrith great Greg Alexander admitted he was concerned after a number of incidents played out on social media.

“There have been a couple of social media things that haven’t impressed me,” Alexander said.

“I think a couple of our players need to pull their heads in after what they’ve posted on social media.”

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