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Brisbane Broncos fullback Darren Lockyer has apologised for comments he made relating to the Bulldogs sex scandal at a corporate function today.
Lockyer landed himself in hot water and put his Australian test captaincy chances at risk when he said, "St George ... they won 11 premierships with one Raper, imagine how many Canterbury are going to win."
The joke gained some laughter from the audience but most were outraged. It has stunned league officials, who are trying to repair the game's already damaged image.
This afternoon, Lockyer apologised for the comments, saying he realises how serious the current situation surrounding the Bulldogs is.
"I regret saying it, I wasn't trying to trivialise the situation," Lockyer said.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said he was surprised at the comment.
"It was an inappropriate remark but it was a mistake by Darren," Bennett said. "It was totally out of character for him, he made a mistake and he admits he made a mistake."
The corporate function was attended by officials and players from all three major sporting codes.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will stand down any player they believe has breached the club's Code of Conduct as soon as police investigations into last month's alleged sexual assault at Coffs Harbour conclude.
"When the police investigation has concluded, any player involved in conduct which breaches our Code or has acted contrary to community standards or the high expectations of the Club will be immediately stood down by the Club," a statement said today.
"They will be subject to stringent disciplinary penalties which, depending on the degree of culpability, include sacking, suspension and heavy fines."
Last night, acting on legal advice, the club's board opted to take no action against players they believe may have breached the code.
Tonight, it is believed that Bulldogs skipper Steve Price will become the first player to talk to the media legitimately when he speaks to Channel Nine's A Current Affair.