Tyrone May’s axing proves gloss is gone from Panthers’ premiership win

Alex ConradNCA NewsWire
Nathan Cleary was handed a fine for acting in a disrespectful manner towards the Provan-Summons trophy. NRL Images
Camera IconNathan Cleary was handed a fine for acting in a disrespectful manner towards the Provan-Summons trophy. NRL Images Credit: Supplied

The Penrith Panthers’ grand final win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs solidified their already strong credentials on the field, but what transpired off the field since the epic victory has only served to shine a negative light on their club culture.

In fact, it almost begs the question: is there any gloss left on their premiership victory?

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Disgraced star Tyrone May published a now-deleted Instagram post that included lyrics to a song by Canadian rapper Drake, supposedly in reference to when he plead guilty to four counts of intentionally recording an intimate image without consent back in November 2019.

The controversial caption read: “And the dirt that they threw on my name/turned to soil and I grew up out it/time for y’all to figure out what y’all gon’ do about it.”

The Panthers figured out what they were “gon’ do about it” and promptly tore his contract to shreds.

Whether they should have followed a similar action after he plead guilty is another element to May’s story, but the Panthers eventually made the right call.

Despite the troubled history May carries with him, Nathan Cleary posted an Instagram story in support of his former teammate.

It wasn’t May’s only indiscretion in the grand final celebrations, either.

The 25-year-old was filmed using a racist slur when he made an appearance on an Instagram live video alongside former teammate Viliame Kikau.

May used the offensive term when responding to online trolls who asked questions about his sex tape scandal in the comments of the live Instagram video, saying: “I don’t give a f***. F*** every motherf***er, n***er”.

May was the leading figure of controversy in the Panthers’ grand final celebrations, but Kikau, Nathan Cleary and Stephen Crichton were all caught up in the storm as well.

On the same Instagram Live in which May used a racial slur, Kikau decided to sing South Sydney’s anthem, “Glory to South Sydney.”

Those actions reeked of arrogance and displayed a serious lack of class.

Panthers grand final player Tyrone May posted a veiled reference on social media to the sex tape controversy for which he faced criminal charges.
Camera IconPanthers grand final player Tyrone May posted a veiled reference on social media to the sex tape controversy for which he faced criminal charges. Credit: Supplied

As for Cleary and Crichton, the two were issued with breach notices and slapped with $7000 and $4000 in fines by the NRL as they “acted contrary to the best interests of the game after they were photographed on social media acting in a disrespectful manner toward the NRL trophy”.

The Provan-Summons trophy depicts Norm Provan and Arthur Simmons embracing in an iconic moment in the sport’s history. Over the years, the image of them coming together at full-time of the mud-caked 1963 grand final, won 8-3 by St George over Western Suburbs at the SCG, has been used as a symbol of true sportsmanship and what the game of rugby league is all about.

Panthers legend Greg Alexander was one former player who publicly slammed the post-final celebrations, declaring the players needed to “pull their heads in”.

“There have been a couple of social media things that haven’t impressed me,” Alexander said on SEN Radio.

“I think a couple of our players need to pull their heads in after what they’ve posted on social media.

“It gets a bit out of control. I don’t follow social media.

Nathan Cleary was handed a fine for acting in a disrespectful manner towards the Provan-Summons trophy. NRL Images
Camera IconNathan Cleary was handed a fine for acting in a disrespectful manner towards the Provan-Summons trophy. NRL Images Credit: Supplied

“I’ve had people tell me about what’s been posted, and some of it shouldn’t have been.

“It was a bit out of line.”

Panthers players would be wise to heed the advice of a club legend like Alexander, and you hope they’ve all learned their lesson.

A slightly less controversial moment in the wake of the Panthers’ celebrations is Api Koroisau reportedly being unable to participate in the grand final parade because he’s not fully vaccinated.

The parade is scheduled for November 20, which will come too soon for Koroisau to wave to the loyal and adoring Panthers faithful.

Penrith won the grand final fair and square, there is no doubting that.

But the respect gained by the Panthers in the rugby league community may have evaporated with the rap sheet of incidents that followed in the wake of winning the premiership.

With May out the door, it could be the trigger needed for the players to whip into shape off the field.

Originally published as Tyrone May’s axing proves gloss is gone from Panthers’ premiership win

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