Rugby league legend Steve Mortimer has apologised for blaming "young ladies" for the NRL sex tape scandals currently besieging the sport.
The 80s Bulldogs great sparked a furious social media backlash after he appeared on ABC News yesterday to diminish the role of players in the ongoing saga.
The NRL off-season has been rocked by an apparently never-ending series of sex tape leaks which have seen players stood down and fined, while others face criminal charges.
The sport is now bringing in new rules to stand down players until their case has been heard in court if they are charged in an attempt to stamp out the problem.
Penrith Panthers have had Tyrone May stood down indefinitely after he was charged following the club being rocked by four sex tapes involving three of their players.
But insiders warn there are countless videos yet to see the light of day incriminating many more players.
A Facebook page NRL Memes which had been leaking some of the videos has since been closed down after NRL star Mark Geyer vowed to sue them when his adult daughter was wrongly identified as one of the women involved.
But yesterday Mortimer poured more fuel on the fire when he got involved in the debate on TV.
"I just think it’s not just the players," Mortimer told the ABC.
“I think it can also be the young ladies that are looking for a little bit of notice: ‘Oh, I’m being taken out by a certain great rugby league player’ or whatever — I think that’s wrong. I think that’s wrong.”
Rugby league great Steve Mortimer says, while the NRL sex tapes are horrifying, it can also be the 'young ladies who are looking for a little bit of notice' for being taken out by a rugby league player pic.twitter.com/S2FTM6KPMY— ABC News (@abcnews) March 7, 2019
Today Mortimer had changed his mind and said he was wrong.
“I would like to clarify and apologise for comments I made on Thursday afternoon regarding the disappointing social culture in rugby league that is, unfortunately, casting a shadow on the game that I love," he said in a statement issued on his behalf by the Bulldogs.
"Having seen and read my comments in print, I realise that my choice of words was poor and not an accurate reflection on who I am as a person.
“In no way was I seeking to apportion blame for some of the current issues in the game to young women in our society. Again, I apologise that my words suggested that.
"I am passionate about helping young people, and it was my intention to encourage young men and women to think about the choices they make in life before they act.
“Anyone who knows me understands how much respect I have for the wonderful women in my life and those in the NRL and broader community.
"I want the young men in our game to understand it is a privilege to play rugby league for a living. It's not a free pass to do whatever you want. All players in our game must take responsibility for their behaviour and show respect for women at all times."