Former NRL Star Reni Maitua has a message for all up and coming young athletes including Polynesian athletes: “Think before you ink.”
The 34-year-old’s sporting career is ‘officially over’, retiring like many rugby league players at his age. Maitua, whose father is from the village of Salani in Samoa, enjoyed a stellar league career that many young players could only dream of, having played for several premiere NRL clubs and representing both Australia and Samoa at international level.
The familiar face of footy now faces the prospect of finding a ‘9 to 5 job’ but so far his trademark tattoos, which adorn his chest, arms, neck and even a finger, have set him back – having been turned down for several jobs
“I can’t get work in any sort of office,” he says. “And it is more than that. People in general make a presumption about what sort of person you are because of the tattoos.”
He admits that he had his tattoos done when he was much younger and ‘naive.’
He warns younger players that Rugby League does not last forever.
“I just want people to think about the tattoos they are getting. Your rugby league career is so short. You think it will last but it doesn’t.’
NRL’s welfare manager, Paul Heptonstall agrees with Maitua.
“We would also urge every player to make sure they are certain before they make such a long-term decision,’ Heptonstall said adding that ‘getting a tattoo is up to the player and their judgment.’