'Taulima Tautai's actions unacceptable', says Wigan Warriors coach Adrian Lam
Adrian Lam addressed his players today to underline Wigan's values - and the importance of their choices - after Taulima Tautai's conviction for drink-driving.
The prop will miss Friday's game at Leeds after his court appearance today.
In a season littered with drama, this is the latest controversy to hit the Warriors - and Lam hopes it will be the last after addressing the squad this morning.
"I felt it was important the players understood why Taulima wasn't here and our disappointment, as a club, with his choices," he said.
"I made it obvious to them it's their choices they make which are important, at training and away from here.
"And they're disappointed in his actions which got him in trouble."
Tautai, who was arrested at 4am and was twice the legal drink-drive limit, fears deportation following his conviction.
Lam said the players receive education and guidance - but they needed to be accountable for their own actions away from the club.
"You can only do so much for the players," he said. "They get education, we try and promote making the right choices as much as we can.
"For whatever reason players will make dumb choices and decisions."
Wigan are to carry out their own internal investigation.
It is unlikely Tautai - who has played in the last 10 matches, including Sunday's 19-18 win at Hull KR - will be considered for selection until that process has concluded but Lam didn't go as far as to say he had been dropped as punishment.
"He's got a lot on his mind and this is an important game for us and rather than have this as a hassle for him and the team, it was a short turnaround anyway so I thought prepare without him," he said.
Tautai has become the third player in eight months to be convicted for drink-driving, following Zak Hardaker and Craig Mullen. And during a turbulent year on and off the pitch, Wigan also lost Gabe Hamlin to suspension for a UK Anti-Doping violation.
"I wasn't here for the first (conviction) but any time any player is charged, it's not good, it's not a good standard to set for the rugby league community," added Lam.
"It doesn't fit into our values as a club, It's unacceptable and we'll deal with it accordingly.
"We deal with it as each unfolds but when you look at the season and the two players affected, it's not ideal.
"Something we promote is making right choices. It's unfortunate and the club will address but moving forward everyone understands the importance and it's unacceptable."
Team-mate Tony Clubb says the players will support Tautai.
"We are worried about him, it's something he has to sort out with the club but we'll message him privately and stick by him," said Clubb. "I know he's been left out - we'll get round him if need be, but as a team our focus is on Friday."
Wigan this evening issued a statement.
Executive director Kris Radlinski said: “Firstly, I’d like to make clear that we are extremely disappointed with Taulima’s actions in the early hours of Sunday the 26th May. Drink driving is completely unacceptable and now that matter has been dealt with by the courts Taulima now faces the consequences of his actions.
“We will now go through an internal disciplinary process with him (Tautai), and until that has run its course we will not be making any further comment.”