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Cronulla Sharks five-eighth Todd Carney has been sacked by the NRL club after a photo of him engaging in a vulgar act in a hotel bathroom was widely circulated on social media last night.
The image, which is too graphic to publish and has yet to be authenticated, appears to show the Cronulla Sharks player urinating towards his mouth while standing at a urinal.
The photo is believed to have been taken in Sydney on Saturday night, not in Brisbane on Friday during the Sharks' celebrations after their dramatic upset win over the Broncos, in which Carney starred. It is the latest incident to hurt Carney's career, which has been marred by alcohol-related issues.
Sharks chief executive Steve Noyce confirmed via a statement that Carney's contact had been terminated after consultation with senior NRL management.
"At the Sharks we are committed to building a successful club, a club with strong values and a club which sets and respects high standards in all aspects of its operations and activities," Noyce said.
"When Todd was first signed to the Sharks he was made well aware of his responsibilities both on and off the field, to himself, the club and to the game in general, however the photograph that appeared last night on social media does not meet the values and standards the club is looking to uphold and take into the future."
Noyce said although the club had sacked Carney the organisation remained "committed to working with Todd, his family and his management in implementing appropriate counselling and support."
Carney was understood to be on a deal worth $A700,000 per season which is not due to expire until the end of the 2018 season.
He joined the Sharks in 2012 after being dismissed two years into a three-year contract with the Roosters after he broke a club-issued alcohol ban in 2011.
He had previously spent a year playing for a regional Queensland team after a string of alcohol-related incidents during his time playing for the Canberra Raiders.
The Raiders sacked Carney in 2008 after he was suspended by the club for allegedly urinating on somebody's head at a Canberra nightclub.
Rugby league immortal Andrew Johns had leapt to Carney's defence before he was sacked.
''Surely they couldn't sack him for that,'' Johns said on Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show. ''It's silly ... it's stupid (but) he is only doing it to himself.''
The NRL's head of football, Todd Greenberg, told Triple M: "We're clearly not in the business to talk about negativity for rugby league, we want to talk about the positive things. These things derail the conversation and that doesn't please us."
The image was published on Twitter and has since been retweeted and shared with comments.
The 2010 Dally M medal winner also played for NSW in the State of Origin for the first time in 2012.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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