True Blue Luke Lewis has revealed his mother was a victim of domestic violence before branding any Rugby League player who doesn’t want to treat women with respect as a “grub”.
An emotional Lewis spoke about his own experience on NRL 360 in response to the spate of off-field incidents that have blighted the code in the off season.
St George Illawarra’s Jack de Belin, Manly’s Dylan Walker and Penrith’s Tyrone May have been stood down under the NRL’s newly-created no fault policy after being charged by police with serious offences against women.
“You’ve either got morals, or you don’t,” Lewis said. “My morals are: you do not belt a woman. That’s just how it is.
“I’m a proud ambassador of White Ribbon and I just don’t respect any man that goes out and belts a woman. It’s just not right.
“If we’re going to sit there and talk about our game changing and our culture changing, if you’re going to come into the game and get paid ridiculously well and you can’t change your morals because ‘we’ve got to change the culture’ - you’ve got to change the culture mentally.
“You’re the one who’s got to turn up and say, ‘I don’t want to belt women, I want to be a different person, I want to be a role model’ and if you don’t want to do it, then don’t play our game.
“You just treat women with respect and it’s done, you don’t have any dramas.”
Lewis also revealed he felt so strongly about the subject because his mother, Sharon, had been the victim of domestic violence.
The former premiership-winning forward has spoken in the past about the important role his mother played in his life after his father left when he was only 18 months old.
“I’ve seen my mum get dragged down the hallway by her hair and get bashed,” Lewis said. “It’s not a good feeling.
“It goes through to the kids and the kids see it all the time, but the only one who’s going to change is the bloke who’s experienced it themselves.
“So, if I experienced it as a kid and I don’t want to see it and I don’t want to see my daughter go through it, I’m the one who’s got to make the change. No one else is going to make me change unless I make the decision to do it.
“You either believe in it and you buy into it, or you’re just a grub. That’s my personal opinion.”