Another football scandal is unfolding in the sports pages today. Like others that have gone before it, this one involves accusations of group sex acts, of a “pack mentality” among teammates, of questionable attitudes toward women.
But at its centre, beyond the salaciousness and sordid details, is a custody dispute over a one-year-old boy.
The child, born last May at a Sydney hospital, is that of New Zealand NRL player Bodene Thompson and Belinda Medlyn, an exotic dancer the player had met via Instagram two years earlier.
What is Medlyn alleging?
In a report by The Daily Telegraph the Penthouse Pet has claimed their son was conceived in a Homebush hotel room just hours before a match with the Canterbury Bulldogs, as one of Bodene’s teammates was allegedly watching on.
A paternity test reportedly confirmed Bodene as the father, and when the child was born he was there at the hospital to welcome the little boy into the world.
But according to Medlyn, the 29-year-old Tauranga-born man (who is already father to a seven-year-old from a previous relationship) has only seen his son seven times in the subsequent 16 months, and has been late on multiple child support payments.
How has Thompson responded?
He hasn’t. Not personally at least. The silence has instead been filled by his lawyer, Daniel McGirr, who denied Thompson had failed to meet his financial obligations to the boy.
“He has always sought an active role in his son’s life and doesn’t owe a cent,” McGirr told The Daily Telegraph.
“He is trying to work out an arrangement to see his son more; he lives in New Zealand and can’t just jump on a plane.”
Why is a custody dispute being so widely reported?
The ‘she said, he said’ over this private matter has come cloaked in Medlyn’s other allegations. Chiefly, that the encounter which resulted in their child’s conception just was one in a series of secret rendezvous the pair had over the course of a year, some of which involved group sex with one or two other NRL players.
These consensual encounters, the 35-year-old told The Daily Telegraph, were how the men “bonded” ahead of a match.
“There’s a pack mentality among NRL players,” Medlyn said. “They think they’re rock stars who can do what they want, until it goes wrong.”
This is why Medlyn said she chose to go public, because men and boys continue to hero-worship men like Bodene.