Former Maroons star Sing backs Marshall - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Former Maroons star Sing backs Marshall

By Ian McCullough and David Beniuk 07/03/2011 07:46:47 PM Comments (0)

Former Queensland and Australia star Matt Sing says he was regularly subjected to off-field racist abuse during his playing days in Sydney.

The prolific former Penrith, Sydney Roosters and North Queensland winger, who scored 176 tries in a 341-game career, before retiring in 2008, said he had complete sympathy with Benji Marshall after the Wests Tigers five-eighth was charged with assault, following an incident in Sydney's CBD in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Marshall's manager, Martin Tauber, insists the player was provoked into punching a man after he allegedly made racist comments towards the New Zealand captain.

Sing said he frequently had to deal with abuse from people on a night out and admitted he once came very close to punching a man in Sydney who hurled racist insults at him in front of his family.

"It was when I played for the Roosters and me and my family were on our way home and a guy came up and started bagging the Roosters outside Easts Leagues Club," Sing told AAP.

"I was walking away and trying to make light of the situation, and then he called me a black so-and-so, and something just went off inside of me.

"Thankfully, I had my family with me and I managed to avoid hitting the bloke and I just told him to watch himself, but it could have been a situation similar to Benji's where you get yourself in trouble just standing up for yourself."

Sing, who ended his career with Hull FC in the English Super League after 25 State of Origin appearances and 18 caps for the Kangaroos, said the potential for trouble was everywhere.

"It happened to me on more than one occasion in different places. You are just out having a quiet beer and some bloke wants to start a fight or feel they have the right to have a go at you just because you are a footballer," he said.

"It is just a case of being careful and not doing anything stupid to provoke the situation but it can be tough for players and I feel for Benji."

Marshall's former Kiwis team-mate Roy Asotasi says NRL stars are subject to racial taunts but need to be smart about how they respond.

"It is out there but how you deal with it, you've just got to be a bit smarter," Asotasi told reporters at Redfern Oval.

"It is pretty tough but you've got to understand that you're a role model in the community and a lot of eyes are on you so you've just got to learn to walk away from it regardless, even if it is pretty bad remarks.

"I'm hoping that he is in the right because I know him personally and it doesn't seem like Benji."

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