Star breaks silence on sexting scandal
Mitchell Pearce read a prepared statement as quickly as he could as he attempted to hold it together while facing the media in the wake of his sexting scandal.
The Newcastle Knights star returned to training on Thursday but first fronted the press to address a furore that forced the last-minute cancellation of his wedding and saw him give up the captaincy of his club.
"For me it's been a traumatic few weeks for my personal life and those I love," Pearce said.
"Unfortunately my actions have impacted the team and more importantly the people I have closest to me, Kristin and my family.
"I'm taking steps now to address these issues and for me to step down as captain this season.
"I love this club and I love my family and I'm committed to working as hard as I can to be the best man I can be both on and off the field.
"I appreciate a bit of respect moving forward and some time to get back to training."
Pearce did not take questions from reporters.
The half-back's wedding day was called off just days out from the event after alleged inappropriate text messages from Pearce to a young female club employee.
Pearce was scheduled to marry his partner Kristin Scott in front of 150 family and friends, including some of the biggest names in the NRL.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Newcastle Knights confirmed Pearce had stood down from his leadership position effective immediately.
"Earlier this week, Pearce met with Head Coach Adam O'Brien, CEO Philip Gardner and General Manager of Football Danny Buderus, to address recent events and to apologise for the distraction and inconvenience they have caused during the Christmas leave period," the statement read.
"Immediately following this meeting, Pearce met with his teammates and football department staff, to advise the group of his decision to relinquish the captaincy.
"Pearce's decision followed a lengthy review of current issues, last season's performance and reflection upon the added pressure the captaincy brings to both his on field performance and personal life. The club is fully supportive of his decision.
"The Newcastle Knights are committed to respecting the privacy of their employees, including any discussion of private matters in the public domain. At the conclusion of tomorrow's media opportunity, no further comment will be made on this matter."
Originally published as Star breaks silence on sexting scandal