Dan Crowley, the former Wallaby who worked as an undercover cop to infiltrate Brisbane’s drug trade in the 1980s, said there was no place at the Queensland Reds for players found guilty of drug offences.
Hunt’s serene world as a three-code pioneer was spun into chaos on Thursday night when charged with alleged cocaine supply when he was caught in the Crime and Corruption Commission’s wider investigation into a drug trafficking syndicate.
After lengthy discussions yesterday, Hunt was stood down from tonight’s Reds clash against the Western Force at sodden Suncorp Stadium, should it go ahead, and will remain in an uneasy limbo until he appears in a Southport court on March 5.
KARMICHAEL HUNT CHARGED WITH ALLEGEDLY SUPPLYING COCAINE
Tearing up his three-year Reds contract, believed to be worth around $2 million, is a possibility if he is found guilty although the Australian Rugby Union’s stance yesterday was appropriately measured.“We take any allegations of illicit drug use in our game seriously and we support the decision to stand down Karmichael Hunt until further notice,” ARU boss Buill Pulver said.
Hunt addressed the player group yesterday after the Reds first became aware of the crisis after 8pm on Thursday night when Queensland Rugby Union chief executive Jim Carmichael took calls from Hunt and his lawyers.
“You are innocent until proven guilty, but some ticker has got to be shown if he is found guilty. He shouldn’t then be staying in rugby employment,” said Crowley, a former QRU board member.
“Zero tolerance…and it doesn’t matter if you are the million-dollar man or the $50,000 rookie. This is sadly a society problem not a rugby thing but you bring the game into disrepute and you should pay the price.”
The fresh intrigue to the case is just who Hunt was contracted to at the time of the alleged offences.
The initial CCC statement yesterday indicated a broad June-December period when Hunt and three others allegedly committed the offences, but the QRU clarified it as September 1-October 3.
Hunt’s contract with the Reds did not kick in until January 1, although he trained with the Reds from November 24, which means he was still contracted to AFL’s Gold Coast Suns at the time of his drug drama.
It throws a potential curveball – just which code’s jurisdiction was he under based on the timing of the alleged offences?
That is small print when considering he is fronting the law, having been a small yet big name fish caught in the net of a serious drugs operation that has trapped two Gold Coast Titans NRL players as well.
“Karmichael has not been in a position to say much. He is obviously dealing with police in confidential conversations within a wider criminal investigation,” Carmichael said after meeting Hunt yesterday.
It is understood that the QRU had no conversations with the AFL over whether Hunt had any previous strikes under that code’s confidential drugs policy.
Reds players have been instructed to have no view on the delicate drama involving their marquee signing who played his first 80 minutes of Super Rugby only eight days ago.
“As this matter is due before the courts on 5 March and is part of a wider and ongoing investigation by the CCC the QRU will not be in a position to determine a formal course of action until legal proceedings have concluded, as we will not be prejudicing the player’s legal, contractual or natural rights,” Carmichael said.
“It has been determined by QRU, ARU and the Rugby Union Players’ Association and after discussion with Karmichael that it would be best for his welfare that he is not available for selection this weekend.”
- The Courier-Mail
- February 20, 2015