Is This the Roosters trying to get both Bird & Carney Give offenders the chance to redeem themselvesArticle from: Font size: Decrease Increase Email article: Email Print article: Print Submit comment: Submit comment By Josh Massoud February 17, 2009 12:00am CRIMINOLOGY Rule No.1: Release a prisoner from jail and they will most likely re-offend. For many freed felons, there is no other viable choice. Society simply can't bear the thought of giving them one. Employers refuse to take the risk of hiring a convicted crim, who then must find alternative means of survival. The most familiar source is crime. So they re-offend and the cycle continues - crime, incarceration, crime, incarceration, crime, incarceration ... And what does this have to do with sport? A fair bit if you happen to be Todd Carney or Greg Bird. Knocked back: Newtown Jets reject Bird, Carney The debate over whether the pair deserve a second, third or fourth chance has evolved into a daily beast as both desperately seek opportunities to avoid sitting out 2009. But the question shouldn't be about recurring chances. It should be about breaking the cycle that threatens to spiral their lives into irredeemable territory. What do you think? Tell us in the comment here and vote in our special poll. If the naysayers are successful in blocking Bird and Carney from playing in 2009, it will spell 18 months on the sidelines for each. Their respective clubs, Cronulla and Canberra, set the wheels in motion by standing them down midway through last season. Given the circumstances, they were justified in doing so. Both halves were given the green light to continue their careers in England, before an unforeseeable fever of stringency at the British High Commission denied them a work visa that had previously been granted to other players with criminal convictions. Suddenly they are stranded. The last remaining option is to swallow their pride and return to what has effectively been reduced to park football in recent years - the NSW Cup. The Newtown Jets were prepared to offer both not so much a lifeline as a bit of tattered rope - the chance to play in front of a handful of diehards every weekend in the rugby league boondocks. Being footballers, Bird and Carney jumped at the chance. Anything to avoid the terrible idleness that is rotting their motivation, eroding their physiques and gnawing away at their sense of self-worth. Gallery: The strife and times of Greg Bird Gallery: Todd Carney's dramatic life But not even this indignity is acceptable to some in the game, despite NRL boss David Gallop and ARL counterpart Geoff Carr showing a refreshing willingness to nurse the duo back via the lower grades. So long as there is continuing resolve to prevent them from playing at NRL level this season, it is impossible to conceive how appearances in the NSW Cup harms anyone - including Canberra and Cronulla. The Raiders, for one, don't even field a team in that competition. There's no way Carney can come back and bite them. And as for Bird? He's already been exiled for six months, despite not having any convictions recorded. While the charges against him are serious enough to excuse Cronulla distancing itself, they should not preclude him from climbing back elsewhere. Thanks to administrators and bureaucrats who are too shaken to think straight amid the din, Carney and Bird have been robbed of any chance to redeem themselves. And no matter how many chances they've used up, that's an opportunity that should never be denied.