opinion

Beau Ryan's defence of Erin Molan is one we ought to hear from every man in the NRL.

The more you look at the avalanche of abuse that is attempting to bury Nine sports reporter Erin Molan, the less it makes sense.

It began with a rumour published by The Daily Telegraph.

An unnamed source told the publication that former professional rugby league player (arguably the best of all time) and commentator Andrew Johns, refuses to work with Molan due to a “personality clash”.

The ‘feud’, a term reserved solely for instances where a woman is involved, allegedly began when Molan was appointed host of The NRL Footy Show at the end of last year, replacing Paul Vautin.

The ink had barely dried on the story when Johns publicly denied it.

He referred to the leak as nothing but “rumours and innuendo”. Channel Nine said the same. But the damage had already been done.

Erin Molan thanks fans for support after Kelly Landry allegations. Post continues below. 

Video by Channel Nine

This week, Molan has been inundated with abuse that might befit a war criminal.

Murder. Rape. Threats against her family. You know, that kind of thing.

Others have said she’s ruined rugby league. She’s pushed the greatest rugby league player out of the commentary box, when she doesn’t even know what she’s talking about. Others have asked – a theme throughout her decade long career – who she’s sleeping with in order to keep her job.

On Friday morning, former professional rugby league player and television personality Beau Ryan spoke on The Kyle and Jackie O Show.

“We all get trolled. Everyone in the media gets trolled (but) she cops it, man,” Ryan began, who co-hosted The NRL Footy Show for a number of years with Molan.

“She’s done her apprenticeship in TV, it took her a while to break in – especially as a woman in the NRL as a presenter. It was tough and I’ve got nothing but respect and love for her. She is super-professional.”

The 34-year-old explained that Molan never ‘replaced’ Vautin on The NRL Footy Show as fans of the show often claim. “The show changed,” he said, “I even said it to Erin the other day, when you fill in for someone you get compared to them straight away… it makes it super hard (and) it’s not fair. She’s got her own flavour in what she does and she’s brilliant.”

He also debunked the rumour that Molan’s presence came at the expense of Johns.

“Andrew Johns didn’t want to be on The Footy Show. It had nothing to do with Erin, me, Fatty [Vautin]… he wants to commentate the games. He’s the best player ever. He’s the best analyst. He’s smart. He’s clever,” Ryan said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ryan also addressed one of the most common criticisms of Molan. Die-hard football fans sometimes argue that Molan has never played rugby league, so how could she possibly know what she’s talking about?

“People look at her because she didn’t play rugby league but our best commentator, Ray Warren, didn’t play,” Ryan told KIIS 106.5.

Interestingly, the ‘you-don’t-even-know-what-you’re-talking-about’ criticism has never been directed at Warren.

The real problem with Molan, it would seem, is that she’s a woman daring to exist in a man’s world.

Ryan is not the first former NRL player to come out in defence of Molan.

Brad Fittler, the former captain of the Kangaroos, said a week ago how much he loves working with both Johns and Molan.

Phil Gould, one of the most prominent rugby league broadcasters, said, “Erin is talented, professional, enthusiastic and very passionate about her work. Erin, like our other girls, Danika Mason, Alana Ferguson and Ruan Sims, are always well prepared. They each have a tremendous work ethic. They are a pleasure to work with and a wonderful addition to our team.”

Ray Hadley used his platform to vehemently defend Molan this week, as did Richard ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald.

Good on the men who have defended Molan. Sometimes it’s easier just to stay out of it and save yourself.

But in some corners of the community, there has been silence.

Ryan, Fittler and Gould are leaders, and have set a standard other men in the NRL should follow.

We need to hear that chorus get louder and louder. Because Molan is not okay.

And she deserves better than this.

Want to help make Australia a better place for women and girls? Take our survey now to help.

MMSurvey

00:00 / ???