Brisbane NRL forward Matt Lodge has taken out a bank loan to pay the victims of his 2015 New York rampage after a confidential settlement was reached.
Lodge avoided a 12-month jail term in the US over the attack with a plea deal but was hit with a $1.6 million damages bill from a civil suit that the NRL said needed to be addressed before he can be re-signed by the Broncos.
Broncos boss Paul White and Lodge’s father met with the victims and their legal team on June 11, reaching a deal which White said both parties wanted to keep confidential.
Lodge said the deal, which will be paid up front in one instalment, had given his family closure but knew he had a way to go to win back the respect of the community.
“I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what happened and how it has impacted them,” said Lodge on Wednesday, reading from a statement.
“Moving forward, I now have a young family … fully appreciate the consequences of my actions on a daily basis.
“I think about what happened in New York every day and it drives me to be a better person, a better father and better member of society.”
White said the club would now wait for the “green light” from the NRL and indicated it was keen to extend the 23-year-old’s current one-year contract.
That deal was signed amid controversy late last year, allowing him to return to the NRL this season for the first time since the New York incident.
“Yeah, in an ideal world,” said White of a new contract.
“I’ve come to know Matt well during his time at the club his behaviour has been exemplary.
“Matt’s taken extensive steps, been alcohol free for that entire amount of time, done consideration rehabilitation programs … and continues to work hard,” the CEO said.