Rugby League Player's Association boss Ian Prendergast has raised concerns about players being filmed without consent, believing there needs to be protection from those cashing in on the trend.
The RLPA has been liaising with Mitchell Pearce, the Roosters and the NRL to ensure the disgraced playmaker receives the welfare assistance he requires and that due process is followed in determining an appropriate sanction.
Pearce was captured on camera drunk, making unwanted advances towards a woman and simulating a sexual act with a dog in footage that was a bonanza for those who screened and sold it. There is a suspicion that Pearce was deliberately set up with a view to cashing in following the emergence of text messages that are now being investigated by the Roosters and the NRL integrity unit.
Prendergast said players needed to be aware they were increasingly becoming public property and there was no excuse for anti-social behaviour. His main concern in the latest incident was Pearce's welfare and ensuring that any sanction was "proportionate with what has occurred and in line with his contract".
However, the former AFL player's union executive said the matter raised privacy issues that also needed to be addressed as sportspeople increasingly come into the spotlight during private interactions.
"There is another aspect to it and that's the trend that's emerging – mainly for sportspeople but the risk exists for every high-profile member of society – of being filmed in a private moment and that being onsold to media outlets and being published," Prendergast said.
"It needs to be clarified what's legal and whether this should become a norm in society, particularly given some of the laws in place to stop that type of thing occurring.
"In the not-too-distant future it's something everyone involved in sport and society will need to [address] ... there needs to be a line drawn between what is private and what is in the public domain. We all make mistakes and are caught in compromised situations in private.
"I would hate to think that is now at risk of becoming public because there is no protection against that whatsoever in this country.
"Having said that, you are responsible for your own behaviour and your own conduct. Sportspeople in particular need to be more mindful of that than ever.
"We want to make sure our members take full responsibility for their actions as well as avoiding unnecessary negativity surrounding everyone involved in these matters."
Pearce was admitted to an overseas rehabilitation clinic after conceding he had a problem with alcohol. The Roosters and the NRL integrity unit are investigating whether illicit substances were part of the club's Australia Day festivities after a series of alleged text messages circulated on social media alluding to drug use.