NRL stars need to stand up, says Gallop - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL stars need to stand up, says Gallop

By David Beniuk 16/06/2010 04:41:13 PM Comments (0)

NRL boss David Gallop says the game's senior players need to stand up and be counted when it comes to issues like racism.

Gallop says he'd like to see leading players heading problems off at the pass before they explode into situations like Timana Tahu's walkout from the NSW State of Origin camp.

"In any one of these areas, whether it's the other social problems that the game deals with, you always want to have a strong group of leading players who are prepared to stand up when they notice something and enforce the policies themselves," Gallop told Melbourne radio station SEN on Wednesday.

"That would be an ideal position to reach.

"You've got to encourage guys, whether it's drugs or binge drinking or gambling, you've got to involve those actually within the playing ranks in enforcing the right behaviour."

Blues captain Kurt Gidley admitted on Tuesday he was present when then assistant coach Andrew Johns made the racial slur against Queensland star Greg Inglis which sparked Tahu's anger.

Gidley claimed he "didn't hear exactly what went on" and declined to go into detail.

Gallop said he had consulted the Rugby League Players Association about how senior players could be encouraged to step in.

"They've raised some ideas, again around awareness of this issue," he said.

"We do run courses for cultural awareness across all our players and have done for a number of years."

Asked if those indigenous and education programs had failed, Gallop said: "I can't say anything other than it's disappointing, but I guess if you were to say that any time you catch a drug cheat your entire anti-doping program's not working you'd be in trouble.

"This is a prominent player and you would have liked to think that he would know better.

"He's been very apologetic about what's happened. As in any situation, you've got to give them some credit for making the apology but at the same time he should have known better and it's very disappointing that both he and the game have found themselves in this position."

But Gallop denied racism was endemic in rugby league.

"I'm not sure I agree it's endemic, I certainly wouldn't suggest that we're immune from the problem," he said.

Gallop reiterated his call for professional mediation between Tahu and Johns as the way forward and the Parramatta centre is expected to meet with the NRL in coming days.

"We've had a chat to some of the authorities from human rights (groups) about that over the last 24 hours so immediately I'd like to see that happen," Gallop said.

"And then everyone sits back and says, 'What did we learn from this?'

"Let's continue our education and let's also remind everyone that from time to time there'll be a need for penalties to be imposed if this sort of policy is breached.

"We've done that in the last 12 months," he added, referring to a fine handed to Cronulla's Paul Gallen.

Gallop conceded the issue could have been handled better by NSW team officials, who initially claimed injury was behind Tahu's exit.

"You would like to see some things done better," Gallop said.

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