NRL legend Sam Burgess given sensational punishment over historical incidents

The verdict is finally in for Sam Burgess after months of waiting for the results.

The NRL has handed out $50,000 in fines to Sam Burgess and the South Sydney Rabbitohs after an exhaustive integrity unit investigation, though the investigation revealed that it did not have enough evidence to support domestic violence allegations.

Burgess himself was fined $30,000 and suspended for 12 weeks over multiple incidents during his time as a player and official at the club, including taking illicit drugs, threatening another rugby league player and driving with drugs in his system.

NSW Police’s Strike Force Irrabella said late last year it would not lay charges against Burgess over domestic violence allegations made by ex-wife Phoebe. Burgess denied any wrongdoing.

“I stand strongly against violence towards women,” Burgess said in a statement. “It has no place in society, no place in sport and no place in my life.

“I am thankful the NRL has finally cleared my name against all allegations of domestic violence. I have now been cleared of three very public and defamatory investigations. This has been a long and damaging process, taking a toll on me both physically and mentally.

“I have accepted full responsibility for the way certain parts of my life have unfolded throughout the last three years. I can now move on and continue the next phase of my life knowing the truth has been revealed. I have made impactful and positive changes to my life and I am focusing on improving and developing as a man, son, father and now coach.

“I understand, but do not agree with all of the breach notices issued by the NRL. The punishment is grossly unfair and my lawyers have advised me of my appeal rights. However, I wish to move on with my life for matters that I believe I have already been dealt with by the courts, judiciary and publicly.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this entire process, it has meant a lot to me and has certainly not gone unnoticed. Most importantly, I would like to thank my family for their unwavering love and support.”

South Sydney was also given a $20,000 FINE for not immediately reporting an allegation made by a member of the public to the integrity unit.

“The Rabbitohs responded to the breach notice at the time and now accepts the fine that has been imposed,” South Sydney said in a statement. “The Rabbitohs wish to reiterate that there is no place in our society for violence, harassment or abuse against women.

“The club also takes issues of drug use very seriously and has established policies and procedures in place around the use of drugs. The club works closely with the playing group to support their wellbeing and educate them about drug use, and also works closely with Sport Integrity Australia and the NRL who administer testing of the players.”

Burgess has since turned his hand to coaching, taking charge of local bush side Orara Valley Axemen ahead of the 2022 season, but has been linked with roles at South Sydney as well as England.

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