Slater remorseful over Paterson jibe - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Slater remorseful over Paterson jibe

22/03/2010 06:10:25 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne fullback Billy Slater has admitted he "overstepped the mark" in taunting Newcastle's Cory Paterson over his battle with depression during Saturday's NRL clash.

Knights forward Paterson reacted angrily to Slater's on-field sledging about his illness during the Storm's 20-14 win at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Paterson missed several matches last season after being diagnosed with depression.

But the back-rower has overcome the problem and produced an outstanding start to 2010, including an appearance in the Indigenous All-Stars match.

Slater said he already spoken privately to Paterson since the game to apologise, and it had been accepted by the 22-year-old.

"I accept that in the heat of the moment on Saturday night, I overstepped the mark with a flippant comment I directed at Cory Paterson," Slater said in a statement on Monday.

"What was said was insensitive given what Cory has been through over the past 18 months.

"I called Cory yesterday afternoon to clear the air and he assured me that there was no ill-feeling between us.

"It would be insensitive to Cory for me to repeat what was said.

"The simple fact of the matter is I made an error of judgment in the heat of the moment and I intend to learn from this."

Acting Storm chief executive Matt Hanson said his club would be seeking the advice of mental health experts to strengthen their player education programs on sensitive issues.

NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said no action will be taken against Slater following his public apology.

"The NRL has since noted the public apology from Billy Slater, which follows a private apology issued to Cory Patterson yesterday," Annesley said in a statement.

"Given those events no further action will be taken. This is, however, a reminder that players can be accountable for what is said on the field.

"While there is always rivalry in the heat of battle there are any number of areas of comment that can see a player facing a further sanction."

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