Taunts about the Bulldogs' 2003 Coffs Harbour rape allegations sparked a brawl involving the NRL club's hooker Corey Hughes and his brother Glen.
The club today fined Hughes $10,000 over the incident outside Kembla Grange Racecourse on Saturday.
A club statement said a fight broke out after the Hughes brothers had been "provoked and verbally abused" by a group thought to have been celebrating a buck's day.
It's understood the pair were taunted about the rape allegations made against Bulldogs players after a pre-season trip to Coffs Harbour in 2003.
The Hughes brothers were never linked to that scandal.
The club said Corey Hughes was fined because he responded to the taunts "in a way the club will not tolerate".
Glen Hughes has no official role with the club having retired in 2001 after 100 first grade games.
The club first learned about the incident when contacted by Corey Hughes yesterday. His version of events was corroborated by a witness who had contacted the club.
Club great and former chief executive Steve Mortimer today warned the "stigma" of the Coffs Harbour allegations lingered even though no charges were laid and would continue to make players a potential target for a long time to come.
"As hard as it is, the legacy of Coffs Harbour will always be a stigma there," Mortimer said today.
"I think the players need to turn the other cheek.
"As hard as that may sound, if they don't turn the cheek there are no winners.
"If they do turn the cheek the winner is themselves. People get drink in them, particularly at the race days.
"It's very hard for them, I do feel for the players, but there's no winners in it.
"They just need to be smart. If you lash back, you are always going to have fellas with drink in them willing to set you up.
"I've experienced it myself, tough guys try to big-note in front of their girls or whatever.
"It's far better to walk away than reacting."
Mortimer said Bulldogs management could be more proactive about educating the players on how to behave in public.
"It might not be such a stupid idea, maybe it would be worthwhile counselling the players on these things," Mortimer said.
"Something needs to be addressed with the players because this is something that will be ongoing, so they will need to address this in the future so they can handle things in a diplomatic way."
Mortimer said that club chief executive Malcolm Noad had to remind the players of their responsibilities to the club and the game.
"The (current) code of conduct is exactly the one I addressed (when in charge)," he said.
"Every year we would reinforce that with the players at the coming of the new season.
"We'd impress upon them they had a role to play as ambassadors, not just for the club but for rugby league.
"Lessons in life are (painful), when you are at your lowest ebb you just have to back yourself and hang in there.
"The Bulldogs will have to do that, hang in there and address the policy."
Asked if he empathised with Noad's situation, Mortimer said: "It's hard, it's not my role to care anymore.
"I care about the club, it would be nice to hear some good news about the Bulldogs in the future."
The timing of the incident couldn't be worse, with Noad and coach Steve Folkes on a charity bicycle ride in rural NSW.
Saturday's incident is the latest in a litany of off-field offences by the Bulldogs in recent seasons.
In March 2004, the Bulldogs slugged Willie Mason $25,000 for returning a positive drugs test in the pre-season. In the same month, one player was fined $10,000 and another $5000 after turning up for police interviews wearing thongs and boardshorts.
And in August Sonny Bill Williams made a public apology and was fined $10,000 after being charged with drink driving.