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Boyd warns over mental health of 'targeted' NRL players


Brisbane veteran Darius Boyd has criticised the media’s treatment of NRL stars like Latrell Mitchell, accusing them of putting “targets on our backs”.

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After coming under fire for what turned out to be a mental health support meeting with injured Broncos teammate Jack Bird, Boyd said the constant media scrutiny was not good for players’ wellbeing.

Boyd – who will retire at the end of the season – is planning to expand his thriving mental health workshops next year.

Boyd has become a fixture in recent years in the Broncos’ community programs delivering resilience workshops to schools, providing coping strategies on how people can best deal with adversity.

But he believes his cause was not helped when players such as Mitchell were pursued by the media.

Mitchell’s wellbeing has been in the spotlight after making headlines for the wrong reasons, prompting South Sydney captain Adam Reynolds to compare media scrutiny surrounding the NRL star to that endured by Michael Jordan.

“It’s fairly disappointing that media outlets target certain people,” Boyd said.

“When you think about it Latrell has been chased since September, October last year.

“To continually chase people … it is definitely not looking after Latrell’s mental health and wellbeing.

“At the end of the day we are very lucky to be able to do what we do but we are also human beings.

“Just because we are perceived to be role models and on TV it doesn’t mean we should have targets on our backs, especially unwarranted ones as well.”

Boyd copped criticism and was accused of breaking social distancing laws when footage emerged of him meeting Bird in a Brisbane park earlier this month.

However, it transpired that Boyd was chatting with Bird in his role as Broncos mental health ambassador, which is endorsed by the NRL.

Former Brisbane captain Boyd has taken Bird under his wing as the former Cronulla ace recovers from his second serious knee injury in as many years.

“It (media coverage) was obviously disappointing,” Boyd said.

“I care about Jack… and he is going through a pretty tough time.

“He is away from his family. He is up from Sydney … I am just trying to help him out.

“It (controversy) was no skin off my nose.

“I think we handled it the right way.”


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