Suzanne Young, Chief Operating Officer of the Australian National Rugby League, described the NRL’s partnership decision with White Ribbon as “an obligation to use our voice to say that violence against women, in any of its forms, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated”.

This show of support against domestic violence would be an admirable statement, if it did not conflict with its actions. Tolerate is exactly what the NRL does to perpetrators of domestic violence.

This week, Kirisome Auva'a signed a three year contract renewal with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, making him an official Rabbitohs team member until late 2018. This comes mere months after Auva’a was convicted of two domestic violence charges.

The charges revolved around the physical and emotional abuse by Auva’a against his now ex-girlfriend, who suffered minor physical injuries but lists the long-term psychological damages as the most painful consequence of Auva’a’s actions.

The Souths received backlash for failing to ban Auva'a immediately after the incidents came to light, and now they have reinstated him in the competition-winning team. Even though Auva’a did complete violence and alcohol abuse rehabilitation courses, the whole process seems to be a faux pas reaction to get the star player back on the field.

NRL CEO Dave Smith said after the suspension was announced that “if you are violent against women there is no place for you in Rugby League.”

However, he also added that the organisation had a duty to help with rehabilitation, and that Auva’a would be banned permanently if he reoffended. But is that one too many chances?

The NRL has a long history of retaining its most valuable sports stars - including several with domestic violence charges - and often shows public support for players amidst court trials.

Whilst its partnership with White Ribbon does set a good example and may improve behavioral standards for players, it comes in light of players Cody Walker, Shaun Kenny Dowell and Greg Bird still playing professionally after stints with domestic violence.

Auvu’a’s contract renewal comes just three months after Shaun Kenny Dowell pleaded not guilty for 11 offences relating to the physical abuse of his girlfriend. Dowell will continue playing the remainder of the season while his court case is still pending. Meanwhile, Auva’a is set to play Centre-wing next season for the Souths and is no longer attending rehabilitation courses.

It almost seems like the White Ribbon union is simply a marketing tool to negate responsibility for NRL players committing violent acts and still be allowed back on the field.

One woman dies every week from domestic violence in Australia, yet we still have no laws prohibiting domestic violence offenders from participating in the public eye. Organisations in positions of power in the media are responsible for setting examples for the Australian public, specifically surrounding domestic violence, even if they don’t necessarily want to be role models.

Eden is an Undergraduate Media and Communications student. She believes in equality of the genders, sexes and races. Contact her at feedback@ibtimes.com.au , or let us know what you think below.