The NRL's controversial "no-fault stand down" policy has been slammed as unfair and inconsistent by rugby league's players' union after Wests Tigers star Josh Reynolds and Penrith Panthers utility Tyrone May were given the all-clear to play in 2020.
May was stood down for the entire 2019 campaign after being charged with filming four sex tapes without consent.
The 23-year-old was convicted last week and handed a good behaviour bond for three years.
He'll also have to perform 300 hours of community service.
On Friday, the NRL said May could return to playing in round five this year so long as he agrees to attend and complete a "secondary prevention program".
He'll also be fined 25 per cent of his 2019 salary by the Panthers.
"Tyrone May has effectively served a 12-month suspension from the game, which reflects the seriousness with which the game treats these offences," NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said.
The Rugby League Players' Association (RLPA) said May's sanctions were "unprecedented" and they would be discussing the issue with the player and his legal representatives.
"May has now been subjected to a 28 NRL game suspension and a fine at the highest end of what can be enforced by clubs under the NRL contract," RLPA chief executive Ian Prendergast said.
"In our view the use of the no-fault stand down rule has significantly compounded this sanction - which is in no way fair, nor does it provide consistency for our members."
Reynolds, who has pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm charges relating to an alleged domestic violence incident in Sydney last year, will not be subject to the stand-down policy.
The 30-year-old reiterated his innocence outside court following a brief mention of his matter in Sutherland Local Court on Friday.
Greenberg said Reynolds' openness had played a role in that decision.
"He proactively advised the Integrity Unit prior to the commencement of the police investigation and I would encourage other players to be as forthcoming," Greenberg said.
"That said the allegation he faces is serious and we will continue to work with and receive updates about his situation from NSW Police."
The NRL has also deferred decisions on Canberra recruit Curtis Scott and Parramatta's Maika Sivo.
Scott has pleaded not guilty to multiple offences including assault after being arrested on January 27 while Sivo is due back in court on February 17 after being charged with indecent assault following an incident at a Fijian resort on Boxing Day.
"This again highlights the challenges of how the NRL's no fault stand down policy operates in practice," Prendergast said.
"The sanctions handed down today further emphasise the need for an agreed independent process to deal with integrity matters, ensuring that the parties involved are treated fairly and in a consistent manner."
The NRL says it is expected to make a decision on Scott's playing status early next week, while Sivo's situation will be analysed after his next court date.