A POLITICAL row erupted over Henson’s train shame last night after the Shadow Health Minister stepped in to defend the star.
Jonathan Morgan – who has spoken out against binge-drinking in the past – said it was the player’s “own business what he gets up to”.
Hard drinking was part of the culture of the Welsh game, he said.
But a Labour AM criticised Mr Morgan’s comments, labelling them “absurd”.
Mr Morgan said: “Of course, it does set a bad example but no more than anybody else in the public eye.
“We can’t escape the fact it can have an effect on young people that he’s caused that level of destruction. But it’s very easy to condemn people like that.
“If you look at the tradition of rugby in Wales there’s a very strong drinking culture in Welsh rugby. You can’t blame him for falling into that particular trap.
“It’s based on the fact you went out on a Saturday and played, then went out afterwards and got completely legless. Other countries see it in a far more athletic way than we do and maybe that’s the thing we should be addressing.”
Rugby players were no worse than politicians when it came to binge-drinking, he said.
“We all know politicians have a habit of drinking quite a lot and I know quite a few of them, not that I’ve ever been in a position such as Gavin Henson.”
But his comments appeared to fly in the face of an outspoken attack on Labour in August when he attacked its policy on binge-drinking.
Then, he said: “Binge drinking and alcohol-related crime has spiralled out of control under Labour.
“People must also take responsibility for their own actions and the impact it has on others.”
Last night, Labour chair of the Assembly’s Healthy Living Group attacked Mr Morgan, calling his comments “disturbing”.
He said: “If you want to say it’s wrong to criticise rugby players when they misbehave then, of course, you can excuse anybody.
“He should be making it clear binge-drinking is not only anti-social but extremely unhealthy in the long run. That’s our job as politicians.
“I was under the impression there was all-party agreement for action against alcohol abuse. I’m very surprised and disturbed to hear Jonathan Morgan as his party’s health spokesman talking like this.