“If you’ve done wrong you pay the price, but you cannot be punished every day for the rest of your life.”
So said Greg Bird, an assistant with Catalans, the club that roiled the entire Super League when they signed Israel Folau to play some football in France.
There are times when we disagree with Bird about how many days one can be punished for, but we agree with something else that he said.
“The beauty of playing here in France is that you’re out of the bubble in Australia or the UK.It’s the perfect environment for redemption and rehabilitation.”
Bird is not chirping simply to hear himself tweet.
Bird found redemption with Catalans not once, but twice.
He was involved in off-field dramas when he played NRL footy for Cronulla Sharks in 2008 and Gold Coast Titans in 2016.
Brid hung up his boots at the end of this last season with the Dragons and took a job for two years from his coaching option that was written into his contract.
Bird might be one of the few people in rugby who can say he has walked in Folau’s boots and he should be a primary source of support as Folau attempts to escape his current daily dose of punishment.
His comment about the fleeting nature of the public’s attention sounded a chord.
“When you start playing football every week pretty soon no-one cares what happened nine months ago,” he said.
Bird ran afoul of the authorities in 2008 for a violent physical assault on his then girlfriend.
He got into more trouble in France.
Back in Australia, this time with Gold Coast when he was cited for going wee next to a police car outside the venue where he was celebrating his wedding, to which he said at the time, “It’s put a dampener on our wedding weekend.”
The incident in 2016 involved Brid being drunk and disorderly in a pub and refusing to leave.
If a bloke such as Bird can find redemption in France, it should be instantly granted to Folau, but some groups are more forgiving than are others.