Former Saints prop James Graham in spat with Aussie commentator Down Under

James Graham
James Graham
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James Graham has come out with all guns blazing in a war of words over his comments on concussion which caused a stir around Rugby League in Australia and the wider sporting community last week.

The former St Helens prop came under fire for appearing to suggest anyone who was afraid of suffering concussion should play oztag (a non-tackling sport) instead of Rugby League.

He doubled down on his comments when appearing on NRL 360, saying he chose to play Down Under, despite knowing the dangers of head knocks, and claiming if he didn’t have rugby league he would probably turn to crime.

Graham, who currently plays for the St George Illawarra Dragons, had been criticised by a number of people, including prominent commentator Peter FitzSimons' hard-hitting editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Earlier this week, the Great Britain and England international prop responded to the column in a lengthy statement through the Dragons.

It read: ''Seeing as though you have addressed me personally last Thursday, I feel obliged to respond to your condescending portrayal of me and point out some glaring errors in your statements.

''I have, in fact, seen a variety of doctors and completed multiple tests just for my own peace of mind and have took it upon myself to go beyond what the NRL have provided me. I think this fact debunks your strong opinion that I ‘downgrade the importance of the concussion issue’.

“For the record, I take neurodegeneration and long-term brain diseases incredibly seriously, and in all of the interviews last week in no way did I discount the seriousness of the matter..

“I’m actually appalled by you paraphrasing my words ‘basically, getting smashed in the head and getting on with it anyway is what goes with football’. Sorry NO! I didn’t say that, mate. Complete fiction."

Graham, 33), went into detail on the research he has undertaken personally into the impact of concussion and head knocks on the brain.

He also suggested changes to the game to limit the impact on the players and the possibility for brutal head collisions.