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Newcastle star Mitchell Pearce says he is taking steps to address his personal issues after stepping down as NRL club captain

The 31-year-old’s decision to quit the role came after a text messaging scandal involving a Knights employee

After meeting with club staff, Pearce shared his decision with the Knights playgroup on Wednesday before returning to pre-season training on Thursday

The former NSW State of Origin center-back read a written statement to reporters at a media conference Thursday This was the first time he has spoken publicly since his wedding to fiancé Kristen Scott last month

“It has been traumatic weeks in my personal life and for those I love,” said Pearce

“Unfortunately, my actions have affected the team and especially the people closest to me, Kristen and my family

“I am now taking steps to address these issues and I believe it would be in the club’s best interests to step down as captain for the season

“I love this club and I love my family and I am committed to working as hard as possible to be the best man I can be on and off the field”

Knights coach Adam O’Brien said Pearce’s off-field saga was “not an ideal situation” for a club looking for success after the first time in seven seasons in 2020 and not bundling until the first week

O’Brien said the decision to resign was Pearce’s own appeal and rejected any speculation of a rift within the playgroup Older players are close friends with the long-time partner of the Knights employee involved in the scandal

“It’s a private business and your wellbeing is paramount over football, however the group is not divided, “O’Brien told reporters

“You understand that the team is like family. You understand that family members make mistakes

“When we are a good family, don’t turn your back on family members, you support them”

The latest controversy comes at the worst possible time for Pearce, who is negotiating with the Knights to extend his contract beyond the end of this season

A sticking point is believed to be money, but his recent indiscretion won’t do him a favor during the negotiation process

Pearce is said to have found stability with Scott after several controversies with the Sydney Roosters in Newcastle

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Mitchell Pearce

World News – AU – “It’s been traumatic weeks”: Mitchell Pearce faces the media after stepping down as Knights captain

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-07/mitchell-pearce-steps-down-knights-captain-after-texting-scandal/13038198