A Disciplinary Tribunal convened last night in relation to a complaint received about a racially offensive comment during an A Grade Toowoomba Rugby League match on August 7.
The TRL can today confirm an individual was charged with ‘conduct which is or is likely to bring the game into disrepute’, and ‘breaching any material terms of the NRL Code of Conduct’.
The individual plead guilty to both charges and read a prepared statement in which he made an unreserved apology to the clubs, the TRL, Queensland Rugby League and the game of rugby league.
As a result of the guilty charge, the person has been excluded from rugby league for a period of 10 years.
The Tribunal also ruled the individual would be required to complete a Cultural Awareness Program as nominated by the QRL Indigenous Advisory Committee prior to returning to the game.
In making its decision, the Tribunal noted the significant distinction between generic offensive language and language that contained racial elements.
Further to this, the Tribunal took into consideration the charged person’s previous involvement in rugby league, their general good standing in their local community, and their remorse.
TRL chairman Joe Hannant said the tribunal had carefully considered all of the evidence tabled at the hearing.
“While the Tribunal’s ruling sends a very clear message that any form of racism or vilification will not be tolerated, it’s important that we all use this unfortunate incident as the catalyst to learn and grow together as a game and community,” Hannant said.
“I note the educational program that is attached to the Tribunal’s ruling, and this is an area the TRL is prepared to invest in to ensure all of our participants can enjoy the game they love.”
QRL Central region manager Rob Crow urged club leaders and the wider community to come together and learn from the incident.
“We acknowledge the TRL’s willingness to move forward and embrace the input of community leaders like QRL Indigenous Advisory Committee co-chair Eddie Monaei,” Crow said.
“Eddie is in Toowoomba today to drive that education process, to talk to the game’s leaders face-to-face, and to share his own experiences and hopes for the future.”