Tatts not me: Napa bares all before Dogs officials to clear his name
Dylan Napa took the extraordinary step of removing his pants in front of a Bulldogs official this week to prove he was not the person at the centre of yet another lewd video doing the rounds on social media.
Napa went out of his way to show he did not have any tattoos on his upper thigh, proving rumours he had again been caught on camera were nothing more than a case of mistaken identity.
Bulldogs forward Dylan Napa and, inset, a screengrab from vision he says proves is not his leg.
Napa fronted the media for the first time on Wednesday to speak about the number of sensational videos that first surfaced last month and which now threaten to see him suspended from the opening rounds of the NRL season.
The Canterbury forward said he had no idea who had leaked the footage, which was taken around five years ago, and he did not know whether more videos would make it to the public domain.
"Nothing surprises me now, man,'' Napa said. "Everything is out there. I don't know. You can't quote me on any of that because I don't know. Nothing will surprise me anymore. It sucks, I wish it wasn't me, but it is. I have to try and move forward.
"At the start I was a bit nervous [facing family] because I have a 92-year-old grandmother and a one-year-old niece. I know what it's like to have women in my life, so it sucks. My mum has my back 100 per cent. My family have my back and I appreciate it.''
Napa said he was limited in what he could say because the NRL integrity unit was still completing its investigation. But it was impossible not to see the the feelings of embarrassment, disappointment and frustration across his face as the beads of sweat began to appear towards the very end of the six-and-a-half minute press conference.
The most logical explanation for the footage being released was a lost phone.
Former Roosters front-rower Kane Evans, who also appeared in one of the videos shadow-boxing while his naked teammate sat nearby, told the Herald on Tuesday: "If someone makes a personal video, then let's say they lose their phone, it gets opened and then sent out and posted all over social media. If they're going to miss game time for that … nobody would be that much of a 'dog' to release that and post it online.''
The 26-year-old Napa said he was upset to have caused ''unnecessary stress" for his new employer, but was grateful to have the support of his family, as well as ''my Bulldogs family''.
"I can't thank the club and my teammates enough. Coming to the Bulldogs, I wanted to set good examples and be a good role model for the young squad we have here,'' Napa said.
"It didn't go to plan to start this year. It was a good start to the pre-season last year, but it all got flipped on its head when this happened. I'm looking to put it all behind me and put all my energy and focus into football. That's the reason I came here.
"I don't want to see all these cameras again unless it's for a good thing, not something silly I did when I was 20.''
Several Bulldogs players spoke about a pumped-up Napa ironing out players during opposed sessions.
What could land Napa in trouble is not simply the lewd content of the videos but the fact there had always been a good chance the footage would be circulated. Images of South Sydney's Sam Burgess surfaced last September, but the reason he was never punished was because the NRL believed there was never a realistic expectation they would become public.
Canterbury coach Dean Pay said of Napa: "It's been challenging for him. Obviously it was five years ago and at a different club.
"I think it would be emotionally tough for anyone. We're here to support him. He's been fantastic since he's turned up. He's grown into a real leader for us as time has gone on.
"He trains with plenty of intensity. I just like the way he plays his footy. He's an aggressive player, and that's what we lacked a bit last year.''
Five-eighth Kieran Foran said of Napa: "I've really like the bloke since he's arrived. He's really good for our group and he's an upbeat sort of guy who is always positive.
"He's an enforcer. You only have to watch the opposed sessions to see what he's capable of. Every player in this group excited to play with him. He's doing OK.''
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