Sam Burgess is one of the best players in Rugby League and one of the toughest forwards in the history of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. After signing a new four-year contract this month, he’s the club’s $3.2 million man.
But today all that is under threat.
The 29-year-old father of one has been unmasked by News Corp as one of the Rabbitohs players involved in a damning team sexting scandal.
According to The Daily Telegraph, 29-year-old Burgess was among a group of players who exposed themselves, without consent, to a 23-year-old women in a series of video chats – an exchange, she said, that left her feeling “violated and uncomfortable”.
The woman, who has not been identified, shared screenshots of the footage reportedly taken the evening of May 26, in which a man flashes his backside and another shows his bare torso and genitals.
While their faces are reportedly obscured, the woman claims the footage came from a verified Facebook account in Sam Burgess’ name.
— The Daily Telegraph (@dailytelegraph) September 14, 2018
As the headlines mount, it’s hard not to think of the other unwitting woman at the centre of this mess. Burgess’ pregnant wife, Phoebe.
The pair announced on June 24 that they are expecting their second child – a little brother for then 17-month-old, Poppy.
The former television presenter, who was fourteen weeks along at the time, told Mamamia at the time that the pregnancy had come as a wonderful surprise to them both.
“It is awesome,” she said. “We’re honestly over the moon.”
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How did the Rabbitoh’s texting scandal begin?
The Daily Telegraph reports that the exchange began after the woman contacted Burgess on Instagram in late May regarding images of him she’d seen on a fake Tinder profile.
“You swipe right?” the league star responded. He then thanked her and added, “The boys want to face time.”
The video calls and picture messages then followed, according to the paper.
The woman first contacted the Rabbitohs about the exchange that month, but approached media after two subsequent emails to the club demanding action went unanswered.
How has Burgess and the Rabbitohs responded?
Burgess had not commented to media, and the club has refused to confirm the identity of the men in the footage, but said in a statement that it is looking in to the matter.
“A thorough investigation will be undertaken in conjunction, and in close co-operation, with the NRL’s Integrity Unit,” the statement reads.
It said Rabbitohs’ CEO Blake Solly has been in touch with the woman who made the complaint, and promised to “deal with the complaint thoroughly and will move as quickly as it possibly can.”
The woman earlier told The Daily Telegraph she didn’t want to see anyone get into trouble nor does she want “any money”. Instead, she wants an apology.
“I just want this story of behaviour to stop,” she said. “The players think they’re indestructible.”
Mamamia has reached out to Phoebe Burgess’ management for comment.