Manly prop Addin Fonua-Blake has been fined $20,000 for breaching the NRL’s Anti Vilification Code during his foul-mouthed tirade against referee Grant Atkins.
The full amount of the penalty will be donated to a wheelchair club after his use of a derogatory term for the disabled community.
Fonua-Blake was suspended for two weeks after calling NRL referee Grant Atkins a “f***ing retard” during last weekend‘s 14-12 loss to Newcastle, prompting a huge outcry from the NRL community
In addition to the fine, NRL acting CEO Andrew Abdo said Fonua-Blake would also have to volunteer to be a referee in wheelchair rugby league “to gain a better understanding and respect of disability groups”.
Abdo announced the fine on Friday after he met with the Tongan international, Manly chief executive Stephen Humphreys and coach Des Hasler on Thursday afternoon.
“What happened on the field was very divisive and not what we stand for as a game,” Abdo said.
“We pride ourselves on being a genuinely inclusive game and also pride ourselves on being incredibly disciplined.
“The match review committee reviewed the actions of Addin on the field and made a determination of that and (he) was suspended for two matches.
“We reviewed subsequent to that decision and made a determination that Addin’s words and his actions were contrary to the anti-vilification codes which exists in the NRL for all players and registered officials.
NRL acting CEO Andrew Abdo says the league prides itself on being an inclusive game. Picture; P Image/Dan HimbrechtsSource:AAP
Abdo said he accepted that Fonua-Blake was “genuinely remorseful” but had to be better as a role model.
“I had a long discussion with Addin personally, I believe he is genuinely remorseful for what occurred,” he said.
“I believe he’s reflected on the lack of discipline and importance of he and all players as role models in sport to be better than that.
“Sport is about bringing people together and uplifting their lives. That certainly didn‘t occur on Sunday.”
Fonua-Blake had issued a written apology on Sunday night, and on Tuesday the Sea Eagles released a video in which he admitted “I let my emotions get the best of me”.
He claimed a post-match incident in which he was heard using similar language to his on-field spray was him venting in the dressing room and was not directed at the referees.
Abdo said there would be a zero tolerance approach to abuse of NRL match officials.
“There is absolutely no tolerance for abuse towards match officials,” he said
“Abuse of match officials is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. A mandatory referral to the judiciary for any matters of abuse will ensure penalties meet community expectations.
“Our match officials have the toughest job in the game and there is absolutely no tolerance for abuse towards them.”
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