Todd Carney did not, in fact, drink his own urine, his agent has been at pains to clarify this morning.
“It’s a setup, like when people stand in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa,” David Riolo told Fairfax Media's radio station 2UE this morning.
Riolo said that Carney had never intended for the picture to be made public.
“Todd’s paid a very, very heavy price for a photo that he didn’t want out there or upload himself. It was supposed to be kept between mates,'' Riolo said.
His attempt to counter an explosion of bad press came as Cronulla Sharks players left a two-hour crisis meeting at Remondis Stadium, their first since Carney was sacked after the emergence of a picture of the player engaging in the lewd act in a nightclub toilet.
The team's planned 9am training session was cancelled because an official declared players were “not in the right head space”.
Riolo confirmed that his client was feeling betrayed after being dismissed by the Sharks on Sunday.
When asked to confirm that it was one of Carney’s ''friends'' who released the photo, Riolo replied: “I use that word loosely.
“The person who took the photo contacted me this morning by text and said ‘My phone got lost’ – supposedly – and that’s how the photo got out. It was meant to be a joke.”
Riolo said the incident should not have been a sacking offence and said that the club’s managers had acted too quickly.
“He’s now got a photo of himself gone worldwide in not a very pleasant setting that’s going to be on the net for his family and everyone to see for future generations. That in itself is a very big price to pay.”
Riolo denied reports this morning that the five-eighth had committed two previous, potentially more serious breaches of Cronulla’s code of conduct earlier this year that may have made this weekend’s sacking inevitable.
“There’s been no serious allegations that I’m aware of that have come across my desk in writing,” he said. “I get 1000 emails every time Todd steps out.”
He said a legal challenge to Carney’s sacking appeared unlikely.
Sharks players started arriving at Remondis Stadium from 8am and were tight-lipped as they entered the ground.
It is understood that some players are unhappy with Carney for putting himself in a position to again be sacked while others were disappointed with the club’s decision to sack him immediately.
The Sharks play the Roosters on Saturday night.