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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

NRL reaffirms stance on racism

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The NRL has this morning reaffirmed its stance on racism saying it will not be tolerated at any level of the game.

It follows a racist comment that was posted on Brisbane player Ben Barba’s Instagram account by a player registered in a CRL competition.

‘This is a serious matter. Racism will not be tolerated in any form’, said NRL Chief Operating Officer, Mr Jim Doyle.

‘Rugby League is an inclusive game and there is no excuse for behaviour that vilifies any member of the game or the community. 

‘We are in the process of speaking with the individual involved and his family.’

ARL Indigenous Council Chair, Linda Burney spoke out about the incident. ‘We are treating this very seriously’, she said. ‘We are working with the NRL and CRL to ensure this young man understands the implications and ramifications of his actions.’


Update 6pm

An 18-year-old Dapto man has personally apologised to Ben Barba for a racist post on the Brisbane player’s Instagram account.

The man contacted Barba via phone late this afternoon to apologise and express his remorse at his actions.

‘I appreciate that people can make mistakes and I accept the apology offered’, said Barba. ‘I was once a teenager and made mistakes. I believe as long as this young man receives some education on racial abuse and the effects it has, he can learn from the incident.

‘I certainly don’t want him lost from our game.’

The NRL and CRL today determined the man will not participate in any Rugby League activities until:

  • He has completed an NRL-approved cultural awareness program;
  • He has met with the ARL Indigenous Council and Indigenous Elders and satisfied them that he understands the ramifications of his actions and is remorseful for his conduct.

The NRL Integrity Unit today met with the man and his family. The actions follow consultation between the NRL, CRL, ARL Indigenous Council, Brisbane Broncos and the family.

NRL Chief Operating Officer, Mr Jim Doyle, said the actions should serve as a warning that the NRL will not tolerate racial abuse.

‘We take these matters very seriously and will continue to act strongly on any form of racial abuse in our game’,  he said. ‘Rugby league is an inclusive sport and vilification will not be tolerated.

‘It is important we continue to educate everyone that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable, both in Rugby League and in society in general.’

‘I am pleased to join the NRL in its condemnation and action taken on this issue’, said ARL Indigenous Council Chair, Linda Burney.

‘People need to understand how hurtful and unacceptable racial vilification is.’



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