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May 10, 2021

Giants’ ‘trial by social media’

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After a thorough investigation, the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League say they are satisfied that there is no case to answer to in regards to accusations of racial vilification that arose after the club’s first round match against Ballina.

It would appear that social media had more of a hand spreading in accusations rather than facts.

NRRRL president Brian Rix says that the managers’ meeting on Monday looked at reports from both of the clubs and video footage from the game.

One of the accusations claimed the entire team left the field and all but one refused to shake hands with the opposition. Mr Rix said that the footage showed clearly that only four members of the Giants team left the field; the men were then made to re-enter the area by members of the Mullum club to shake hands with Ballina players.

‘We received reports from all the clubs concerned,’ said Mr Rix yesterday.

‘They have all been very proactive in getting to the bottom of this. Four members of the Giants reserves did walk off but were made to return by the club to shake hands. As far as the racial stuff goes, it seems that was all blown out of proportion by a Giants supporter and then it found its way onto Facebook where it really got out of control.’

Mr Rix said that the issue was overstated by the complainant. Both clubs reported a certain level of banter between the teams as they left the field, but neither club said there were any racially derogatory comments.

‘The Ballina club were adamant that there were no ill feeling towards the Giants,’ said Mr Rix. ‘Bantering among the players has been going for as long as there has been team sport – they were happy with the banter. They said that if you take it out of the game, we don’t have a game. They said the reason that they didn’t make a complaint was because they had nothing to complain about. They said there was nothing to say.’

The four Giants players who left the field did have something to answer for and Mr Rix said that they would be dealt with internally at the Mullum club.

‘This is what we want,’ he said. ‘We want teams to be able to deal with problems on a club level.’

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