Ignoring his previous actions, it is pretty refreshing to see a bloke appreciate his privilege in the NRL and focus in on not letting it slip away.
How many players have pissed away their opportunities (Nobby, I'm looking at you)?
As a teacher I have students who have come to us as broken, unpleasant people as a result of trauma, drug abuse etc. Some of those students with support (not judgment), education and a bit of self-esteem become assets to our community. Some will always be a source of misery for other, often innocent, people. Do we write them all of knowing many will injure, or do we give them all the opportunity for change knowing that it can be the opportunity to get out of a vicious cycle for some?
I guess it comes down to whether you believe that there are crimes which are so serious that redemption should not be an option. There are close parallels with the corporal vs capital punishment debate here.
If not allowing Lodge to make changes to his life and look to a more positive future then what should society (and football clubs) be doing then? What are the benefits of casting him out and writing him off? If you are saying 'not here, let some other club stoop that low,' then you're not really making any moral difference to the argument of Lodge playing rugby league.
Sport and having a purpose in poverty stricken, disaffected communities keeps people away from criminal pathways. Providing opportunities for wayward young men is a great crime prevention tool, until they grow up enough to 'get life.'
I was critical of Brisbane signing Lodge based on the lack of time that had passed since his incident and his inadequate effort in dealing with it. I'm for signing him now based on the changes he has made to become a better person. I'd be hopeful that one day he has mended himself enough to talk explicitly about the mistakes he has made and find ways of addressing them that make society a better place for others.
I've been trying to watch interviews with him and I just feel like the remorse isn't there. The guy is like, joking about it almost, talking to podcast hosts like "go on, ask me about the awful shit I've done and write your little hit piece" — like, that's banter to him. I think he feels like he got a rough go from the media and that he's the real victim in this because everybody makes mistakes, or whatever. Obviously that's speculation from my part but it shows a shocking lack of self-awareness, imo.
secondly, I am all for rehabilitation. we have a GREAT example of that at our club - Suaia Matagi. obviously i don't know either of these guys personally but Matagi seemed to elicit genuine remorse and appreciation for his opportunity. Lodge on the other hand, got off so lightly, is allegedly a domestic abuser, and nothing about his attitude seems to show he's done much to change himself - he got 200 hours of community service, so I'd question how much of his volunteer work was actually voluntary. Also his sobriety was court ordered. So I take that with a grain of salt.