Opinion

Should we be reporting on sex tapes?

With another sex tape being leaked, where does the public interest end and a player's right to privacy begin?

The NRL is dealing with another sex tape scandal after it was confirmed a player from the Parramatta Eels was recorded having sex in a toilet cubicle.

In a statement the club said neither the player nor the woman involved were aware they were being recorded. 

The NRL integrity unit was notified on Sunday night by the video apparently being shopped around to the media.

As usual the rugby league media has picked up the story and run with it. They thankfully haven’t named the player, although it seems both The Mole and someone at Fox Sports originally had the player’s name in their first drafts before removing it after publication.

But should the media be reporting on this incident at all?

So far the facts laid out point to two people engaging in a consensual sexual act in a private toilet cubicle who have been filmed without their knowledge.

If that is the case then why is this being spread?

The person who recorded the footage has effectively broken New South Wales law. And for anyone asking why someone would do such a thing, it’s simple. The media has paid for those videos and images in the past.

Hell, The Daily Telegraph saw it fit to obtain a vantage point and have telescopic photo lenses to photograph the Bulldogs’ private Mad Monday celebrations a few years ago then create a controversy out of it.

In the case of this Parramatta player, what is the actual story here? Why do journalists feel the need to promote this video when it was obtained illegally?

Doing so only creates a market for it.

This isn’t exactly a story that is in the public interest.

The only argument for it is that a journalist believes the player being a public figure means they can report on it.

But even public figures have a right to privacy.

The fact the act was between two consenting adults should be the end of it.

And players have expressed this right to privacy recently, with Steve Matai telling the media to go away, he was just enjoying his retirement.

“Please respect my privacy and the way I want to live my life. I am living happily and enjoying life in our community with my beautiful wife and children.

“Accept this and move on,” Matai wrote after news outlets made up reasons why he hadn’t been seen around Manly since retiring.

Now, onto the NRL integrity unit’s investigation. If what the Eels stated is true then the NRL should not be punishing the player at all.

Otherwise you have an employer interfering with the most private part of an employee’s life. What type of precedent does that set?

If no crime has been committed by the player then the NRL should be staying out of this.

There is a precedent of course, given the leaking of sex tape last year of a Brisbane player with the NRL not punishing him due to him being a victim.

Not only that, but the footage was obtained illegally. What does that say about the NRL if it uses illegally obtained footage to punish a player?

Sure, a toilet cubicle isn’t the greatest place to be having sex. However, the door was closed and the person who filmed it climbed the wall of the cubicle to stick their phone over.

Where does a player’s privacy actually kick in?

Where does the NRL say “that’s your private business, we aren’t interested,”?

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