The golden opportunity Penrith missed with the Taylan May saga

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I don’t envy the position the Penrith Panthers club finds itself in when it comes to the charges laid against star centre Taylan May.

The 22-year-old has plead not guilty to the domestic violence related charges and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.

Indeed, he’s entitled to be supported by Penrith too, as his employer, while the court process unfolds.

Although reports earlier this week suggest Penrith’s patience with May on other matters may have run out, with a show cause notice issued that could see his contract terminated.

Understandably and predictably, Penrith is taking the “no further comment at this stage” approach to May’s current charges, citing the ongoing legal proceedings.

But I can’t help but feel there’s been some words missing from Penrith’s very brief official response to May’s situation so far.

Taylan May leaves Penrith Local Court last week. Photo: Emily Chate.

As it stands, Penrith’s only comment has been via two short statements – a 47 word statement confirming he had been charged by police, and a 48 word statement confirming he had been stood down by the NRL.

In addition, coach Ivan Cleary had a tense exchange with journalists last week, when he doubled down on Penrith’s stance to not comment any further.

I don’t blame the Panthers for such a response. It is crisis PR 101, and I imagine there’s legal advice to suggest this is the best approach.

Additionally, I assume Penrith has discussed the matter with May, and would have additional information not yet aired through the court proceedings. That is fair enough.

But as a Penrith fan for more than 35 years, a club member and a resident in the community it represents, there’s one paragraph in addition to the “no further comment” I’d like to see.

And it goes something like this:

“While the Panthers cannot comment on Taylan May’s case specifically, and makes no assumption of guilt or innocence, the club reiterates its position that it finds violence against women abhorrent. The club supports any measures to eradicate the unacceptable prevalence of domestic violence in the community of which we are a part.”

The Panthers have one of the loudest voices in our community.

In an area plagued by domestic violence, there was an opportunity for Penrith to make its position clear, without having an impact on May’s specific case.

Taylan May in action for Penrith. Photo: NRL Photos.

It would have made me proud had they done so.

It’s only my two cents, but I think there was an opportunity to do better here, and it wasn’t taken.

Again, I respect Penrith’s difficult position and understand their approach, but bystanders staying silent is a huge part of the domestic violence epidemic Australia is facing right now.

All our voices need to be louder.

Troy Dodds

Troy Dodds is the Weekender's Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia's leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.

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