Gabe Hamlin doping charge: 'We drive a strong culture at Wigan Warriors,' says Kris Radlinski
Executive director Kris Radlinski has issued a robust defence of the culture at Wigan Warriors following Gabe Hamlin's doping charge.
Australian prop Hamlin has flown home after being informed he had been suspended because of a UK Anti-Doping violation.
While the circumstances of the charge are not clear, it is another bloody nose for the club and the sport.
And with fringe player Craig Mullen last week charged with drink driving, it inevitably raises questions about the off-field standards expected at Wigan.
Radlinski, though, says they educate players extensively and they have to take accountability of their own actions away from the club.
He said: "It's not ideal, there's a fair amount of negativity at the minute, it's my job to protect this club and ensure we continue to drive a strong culture.
"I understand that will be questioned at this stage, but in testing times cultures are tested and that's where we're at.
"There have been a couple of incidents in the last couple of weeks but all we can do is concentrate to educating our players and putting strong welfare programmes in place, which we have done
"I firmly believe that we have a strong programme here, from 8am until 4pm, the players get no better service.
"When they leave, they go into the real world, they make their own decisions.
"All we can do is continue to drive and reinforce that there are challenges out there. It's not unique to this club, there are challenges in multiple sports."
He added: "We have workshops on gambling, drugs, finance management - we go into a lot of detail.
"Once a month there'll be a seminar about society issues and problems - we're in a situation 87 per cent are engaged in 'career after sport' activities, which is a fantastic number.
"I'm confident we're doing everything we can, but on the back of this, everything will have to get reviewed."
Wigan announced Hamlin's suspension, imposed by the RFL after learning of UKAD's charge, in a brief statement last night.
The 22-year-old has until Monday to contact UKAD and decide whether to accept the charge - and punishment outlined to him in writing - or challenge it.
Warriors said it was a UKAD violation but the nature of the charge is unclear, and Radlinski explained why he couldn't cast any more light on the issue during a press briefing today.
"It's a very difficult situation, the process is in the hands of Gabriel and his legal team, that's not our news to break - they have to determine how they're going to approach UKAD," he said.
"The deadline is April 8 so he's got less than a week to decide what to do.
"It's not for me to say, that's for Gabriel or his legal team, I can't get into that. I'm following the advice of our legal team... we sought advice from the governing body and they understood the difficulty of this situation."
Radlinski says they received Hamlin's approval before issuing yesterday's statement and Wigan would be willing to announce his intentions, once he has contacted UKAD, but that is a decision for the player to make.
"There are processes we need to stick by which are out of our control, I need to stress that - this is not in Wigan's hands, this is in the hands of Gabriel and his legal team," said Radlinski, who address the players and staff this morning.
"I spoke openly and honestly and said we have to remain strong as a club."