NRL investigates racism suspensions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL investigates racism suspensions

24/06/2010 07:43:35 PM Comments (0)

The NRL will explore implementing suspensions for acts of racial abuse in the wake of Timana Tahu's stunning NSW Origin walkout over comments by Blues assistant coach Andrew Johns.

Tahu met with the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council on Thursday to express his concern over racial elements within the game.

The Indigenous Council supported his stance - taken when Tahu took exception to Johns' racist remarks at members of Queensland's State of Origin team - as they advocated a zero tolerance approach to racism.

Amongst the recommendations put forward following the meeting - which also had representatives from the NRL and ARL - was for the establishment of easier paths for players to make formal complaints as well as the possibility of harsher penalties for offenders.

"We need to do all we can to ensure that the zero tolerance message is a reality," ARL Indigenous Council chairman William Smiley Johnstone said.

"There is a lot of work to do to see what we can get in place and we need to investigate each of these recommendations properly before reporting back to the game's governing bodies.

"He (Tahu) has made an important stand and has received the support of people across the game but we now need to move forward and develop a legacy from that stance."

Johnstone said Tahu would become a member of the Indigenous Players Advisory Group, with the Parramatta star - who will miss four matches after being suspended by the NRL judiciary following a high tackle charge - keen to be seen as a example for others to follow.

"This isn't just an Indigenous thing, it is something I believe is important for all Australians and all cultures," Tahu said.

"I was a shy kid and growing up it was hard to tell people how you really felt about some things.

"We need everyone to understand that it's important to help people come forward when they are feeling victimised."

Tahu said the establishment of harsh penalties for anyone found guilty of racial abuse would help combat racism.

"We need to stop these problems early but we need also to have penalties for those who simply don't want to listen."

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