AN emotional Mitchell Pearce has struggled to hold back tears in his first public address following the texting drama that has cost him the Newcastle captaincy.
Standing alongside Knights coach Adam O'Brien on Thursday morning, Pearce said it had been "a traumatic few weeks for my personal life and those I love".
"Unfortunately my actions have impacted the team and more importantly the people I have closest to me and Kristin and my family," he said.
"I've taken steps to address these issues but I feel it would be in the best interests of the club for me step down as captain for the season.
"I love this club and I love my family.
"I'm committed to working as hard as I can to be the best man I can be both on and off the field."
He was confident the saga wouldn't negatively impact the club's 2021 NRL campaign, where they'll look to build on last season's finals appearance.