Sam Burgess speaks to the press on Tuesday. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Sam Burgess speaks to the press on Tuesday. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Cleared Burgess says he’s exploring legal options

RABBITOHS star Sam Burgess has posted on social media that he intends to explore his legal options over the South Sydney lewd video accusations.

A 23-year-old woman has previously alleged, according to reports, that Rabbitohs players exposed themselves to her during a Facebook video chat in May.

On Friday, Burgess was  cleared of any wrongdoing over the lewd photo scandal after the NRL club completed its investigations.

The club said no player had broken club or NRL rules, after a complaint was made by a woman alleging Rabbitohs players exposed themselves to her.

Burgess held a press conference on Tuesday and declared he was happy for the NRL's integrity unit to get to the truth of the matter.

While stressing he was unable to speak about the accusations made against him until the investigation was concluded, Burgess also said he would consider speaking to his lawyer soon to discuss his legal options surrounding the claims made against him.

In his first social media post since the accusations were made public before the Rabbitohs' win over St George Illawarra last Saturday night, Burgess said he was exploring his options with legal counsel Chris Murphy.

"I have not sexted anyone," Burgess wrote.

"I fully co-operated with the inquiry as I said I would. I have engaged lawyer Chris Murphy to pursue my remedies and he has retained defamation lawyers.

"I have given full account to the inquiry and answered every question asked. It's now in Mr Murphy's hands. The next move is up to him. I have nothing more to say at this stage."

The woman at the centre of the scandal was interviewed by NRL integrity unit investigator Karyn Murphy but declined to be quizzed by a five-person panel set up by the club last Friday.

The club said in a statement: "Based on a thorough review of the available evidence before it, the panel was not satisfied that any South Sydney player engaged in any actionable misconduct resulting in a breach of their NRL playing contract, the NRL rules or the SSFC code of conduct."

A spokesman for the NRL said that based on the information available the NRL was satisfied with the position the panel has reached with respect to the allegations against players.

"If any additional information emerges it will be considered," the spokesman said.

Sam Burgess after his team’s win over St George Illawarra.
Sam Burgess after his team’s win over St George Illawarra.

It was widely reported that it was Burgess's social media account that was used to communicate with the woman.

Two players were believed to have exposed themselves to the woman, who complained to the club via an anonymous email over a period of three months between May and August.

The incident overshadowed the Rabbitohs' semi-final win over St George Illawarra and dominated headlines ahead of Saturday's grand final qualifier against the Sydney Roosters.

An emotional Burgess also fronted the media this week, where he thanked his wife and family for their support and said he was "happy for the truth to come out".

The panel was made up of ARL Commissioner Lea Drake, club chairman Nick Pappas, club staffer Emily Grant, chief executive Blake Solly, and Murphy.

Meanwhile, Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has said he is disappointed the club has been accused of being involved in the lewd image scandal.

Speaking before the Rabbitohs' released their findings on the drama, Robinson emphatically denied the claims.

"If you want to shift blame to us, then you've got some issues," he said.

"It's sad if you want to deflect like that, we haven't been involved in this at all."

The conspiracy theory has added to the long-standing rivalry between the neighbouring clubs in a blockbuster match that also marks the final game at Allianz Stadium before its rebuild.

Robinson was unsure how the scandal would impact on the Rabbitohs.

"Only they can answer that. You're guessing about how they'll be. I don't know where they'll be with what's happened. That's up to them," he said.

Robinson's counterpart, Anthony Seibold, was pleased to shift the focus to the game and expected a strong showing from Burgess as the Rabbitohs strive to advance to the grand final and meet either defending premiers Melbourne or Cronulla.

"I expect Sam to do his job. I don't expect him to do anything more or anything less. He's very determined, he's trained very well. The expectation from me is to do his job," Seibold said.

- with AAP



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