We don't need to go anywhere near the many and varied indiscretions (and that's putting things very politely!) that players have committed to remind ourselves that rugby league in Australia is in the horrors.
And, what about the monumental stuff-ups that have plagued rugby league's centenary year! The farce of having a rugby league world cup that has just ten nations taking part in says it all.
But wait, there's more. This latest stuff-up takes the cake.
The Sydney Morning Herald has published a piece by Andrew Moore, who teaches Australian history at the University of Western Sydney and is a co-organiser of the Centenary Conference of Rugby League at the Powerhouse Museum, in which Moore reveals yet another stuff-up.
Moore describes the NRL's move to established an award that recognises the significant contribution of indigenous Australians to rugby league "as an admirable initiative" but says there's one big problem with it.
The award, which goes to a rising star of indigenous background playing his rookie year in the NRL or the Toyota Cup, is the George Green Medal, but it has been named after the wrong man.
Certainly the surviving photographs of Green, a highly regarded hooker-forward with the North Sydney RLFC in their premiership years of 1921-22, establish he was black, as well as extremely handsome, with immaculate hair always parted neatly in the middle.
Almost every sports historian and rugby league website, from Wikipedia to the highly respected Colin Tatz and Douglas Booth, claim that George was Aboriginal.
If, however, anyone had bothered to research George Green's background, they would have established that his pedigree is a little murky. George's birth certificate establishes he was born at Dalmorton, near Grafton, in northern NSW, (not in the strongly indigenous Emmaville, as some have claimed) on December 17, 1883, the son of Thomas Green and his wife, Hannah McMahon, of Bulli. His full name was Edward George Green.
While being born near Grafton may well add credence to the view that George was Aboriginal and a member of the large Bundjalung community, it is important to remember that in the 1880s Grafton was a major port. Thomas Green's occupation as a master mariner is not surprising.
Revealing about George's father is his place of birth. On George's birth certificate Thomas Green recorded his birthplace as St Kitts, West Indies. Though Thomas was not consistent in recording his personal details - on his marriage certificate he suggested he was born in England - it is likely, nonetheless, that George Green was of Afro-Caribbean background.
Nor did George's maternal line establish any claim to Aboriginality. Hannah McMahon arrived in Australia from Ireland in 1860 as a 13-month-old baby, part of a Donegal family emigrating in the wake of the Great Famine.
George muddied the issue further by telling various people he was a Pacific Islander or Maori. Denying Aboriginality was normal in those less enlightened times. Some see this as strengthening the claim he was Aboriginal. If George had come clean about his racial origins, so the argument goes, he would have been expected to have had no further contact with his family and former community. Therefore he prevaricated about his ancestry.
The mystery, however, can be solved. It seems there were two George Greens from northern NSW, born six months apart. The NRL named the medal after the wrong one.Another George Green was born at Emmaville, north of Glen Innes, on June 24, 1883, the son of Chas Green, a miner, and his wife, Annie Coltern, formerly of Ipswich.
This George Green was indigenous. The Green family is still well known among Bundjalung people around Emmaville.
Most certainly, however, he was not the E.G. Green who appeared in Rugby League News.
Consider this in the context of the times and the deep racism shaped by social Darwinism. Being black then would have impeded a footballer's career, and impeded a lot more too. Yet E.G. Green secured work as a mechanic with the Postmaster-General's Department in April 1911, two years after theNSW Protection Act began breaking up Aboriginal communities by forcibly removing children - the origins of the stolen generations. While the rugby league press of the time frequently commented on the "dusky" origins of players, no comment was made about George, other than that he was an extremely talented footballer and something of a gentleman.
In modern cliche, Edward George Green was a rugby league role model deserving of a place in history, an esteemed footballer with an honourable reputation. In all aspects apart from his lack of Aboriginality he deserved to have the NRL medal named after him.