Alleged Leniu incident.

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Terry Zarsoff

First Grader
From the SMH.

No doubt Haumole is telling the truth (Edit: to clarify - ‘his truth’) however was it the right response and what were the media people thinking? What briefing on what to say,if any, did he receive beforehand?

‘I’ve been called a coconut many times … it’s just words’​

By Christian Nicolussi

March 12, 2024 — 6.00pm

Manly star Haumole Olakau’atu claims he has been called a “coconut” countless times by opponents during NRL games, but insists “it’s just words to me”.

The Tongan forward said he believed Spencer Leniu’s eight-match ban for aiming a racial slur at Brisbane’s Ezra Mam was too harsh, and was unaware “monkey” was an offensive term to Indigenous players.

NRL icon Johnathan Thurston says the eight-week ban handed to Spencer Leniu is "definitely not" long enough.

As league legend Johnathan Thurston said 12 weeks would have been a more suitable punishment for Leniu, the Roosters prop found an ally in fellow Polynesian player Olakau’atu.

Leniu revealed during Monday night’s hearing it was not uncommon for those in his inner circle “with the same skin tone” to refer to each other as “black c---” and “blacky”.

He said he never realised “monkey” was so offensive until it was pointed out to him by an elderly Indigenous woman via social media in the early hours after the Las Vegas drama.

NRL counsel Lachlan Gyles was sceptical when Leniu said he had never heard of Adam Goodes, the Indigenous Sydney Swans star who made headlines in 2013 when he called out a 13-year-old fan who had called him an “ape” during a match.
Haumole Olakau’atu at Manly training on Tuesday.

Haumole Olakau’atu at Manly training on Tuesday.CREDIT: JAMES BRICKWOOD/SMH

Olakau’atu – who said he, too, had never heard of Goodes – could relate to Leniu’s testimony about the use of words like “blacky” and thought two months out of the game was an extreme punishment.

“We do use those words [Leniu mentioned] for banter, and for a laugh, we don’t use it for anything else, or have any emotions behind it,” Olakau’atu said.

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Dean nWidders was involved in his own racism saga with Bryan Fletcher in 2005.

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‘It takes everything away from you’: Why Dean Widders went to the Leniu hearing even though it opened old wounds

“We’ve been called everything growing up. Us Polynesians have it tough growing up.
“Was the eight weeks for [Leniu] too long? For me, personally, yes. It was way too long. At the end of the day he apologised, right? He got charged. That is it.

“Four weeks would have been more than enough. You don’t know what’s going through his head now.

“Spencer said what he said, he didn’t mean it, and I believe him. I can see where he’s coming from [in his belief that terms were not racist]. We do know some of the history of the Aboriginals on this land. For him to say that word, I didn’t think it was that big of a thing until it happened.”

Olakau’atu grew up in a multicultural community in western Sydney, and said he was regularly referred to as a “coconut” – an offensive slur often directed at people of Polynesian background – and that had continued on the playing field in the NRL.
The giant backrower is put through his paces on a warm morning at Brookvale.

The giant backrower is put through his paces on a warm morning at Brookvale.CREDIT: JAMES BRICKWOOD/SMH

“I’ve been called everything on the field, but it’s just words to me – I’ve been called ‘coconut’ many times in the NRL,” Olakau’atu said.

When pressed if the words had been used by white players, Olakau’atu said: “Bro, anyone. It’s part of the game, it’s the heat of the moment, and at the end of the day they don’t really mean it. It’s just words to me.

“It will happen when you have a scuffle ... I got called that growing up in school. You get used to it. It’s just words. I hope he [Leniu] gets this message. I hope he is doing well mentally.”

NRL judiciary chair Geoff Bellew said in his summary of reasons for the eight-week ban that the panel were “satisfied the player did intend to use the word ‘monkey’ as a racist comment”.

“The panel did not accept the player’s claimed ignorance that he was not aware that ‘monkey’ was, when used towards the Indigenous community, a racist term; in light of that finding, the panel was satisfied that the offending fell at a high degree of objective seriousness,” Bellew wrote.
 
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frank stokes

I discriminate indiscriminately
From the SMH.

No doubt Haumole is telling the truth, however was it the right response and what were the media people thinking? What briefing on what to say,if any, did he receive beforehand?

‘I’ve been called a coconut many times … it’s just words’​

By Christian Nicolussi

March 12, 2024 — 6.00pm

Manly star Haumole Olakau’atu claims he has been called a “coconut” countless times by opponents during NRL games, but insists “it’s just words to me”.

The Tongan forward said he believed Spencer Leniu’s eight-match ban for aiming a racial slur at Brisbane’s Ezra Mam was too harsh, and was unaware “monkey” was an offensive term to Indigenous players.

NRL icon Johnathan Thurston says the eight-week ban handed to Spencer Leniu is "definitely not" long enough.

As league legend Johnathan Thurston said 12 weeks would have been a more suitable punishment for Leniu, the Roosters prop found an ally in fellow Polynesian player Olakau’atu.

Leniu revealed during Monday night’s hearing it was not uncommon for those in his inner circle “with the same skin tone” to refer to each other as “black c---” and “blacky”.

He said he never realised “monkey” was so offensive until it was pointed out to him by an elderly Indigenous woman via social media in the early hours after the Las Vegas drama.

NRL counsel Lachlan Gyles was sceptical when Leniu said he had never heard of Adam Goodes, the Indigenous Sydney Swans star who made headlines in 2013 when he called out a 13-year-old fan who had called him an “ape” during a match.
Haumole Olakau’atu at Manly training on Tuesday.

Haumole Olakau’atu at Manly training on Tuesday.CREDIT: JAMES BRICKWOOD/SMH

Olakau’atu – who said he, too, had never heard of Goodes – could relate to Leniu’s testimony about the use of words like “blacky” and thought two months out of the game was an extreme punishment.

“We do use those words [Leniu mentioned] for banter, and for a laugh, we don’t use it for anything else, or have any emotions behind it,” Olakau’atu said.

RELATED ARTICLE​

Dean nWidders was involved in his own racism saga with Bryan Fletcher in 2005.

NRL 2024

‘It takes everything away from you’: Why Dean Widders went to the Leniu hearing even though it opened old wounds

“We’ve been called everything growing up. Us Polynesians have it tough growing up.
“Was the eight weeks for [Leniu] too long? For me, personally, yes. It was way too long. At the end of the day he apologised, right? He got charged. That is it.

“Four weeks would have been more than enough. You don’t know what’s going through his head now.

“Spencer said what he said, he didn’t mean it, and I believe him. I can see where he’s coming from [in his belief that terms were not racist]. We do know some of the history of the Aboriginals on this land. For him to say that word, I didn’t think it was that big of a thing until it happened.”

Olakau’atu grew up in a multicultural community in western Sydney, and said he was regularly referred to as a “coconut” – an offensive slur often directed at people of Polynesian background – and that had continued on the playing field in the NRL.
The giant backrower is put through his paces on a warm morning at Brookvale.

The giant backrower is put through his paces on a warm morning at Brookvale.CREDIT: JAMES BRICKWOOD/SMH

“I’ve been called everything on the field, but it’s just words to me – I’ve been called ‘coconut’ many times in the NRL,” Olakau’atu said.

When pressed if the words had been used by white players, Olakau’atu said: “Bro, anyone. It’s part of the game, it’s the heat of the moment, and at the end of the day they don’t really mean it. It’s just words to me.

“It will happen when you have a scuffle ... I got called that growing up in school. You get used to it. It’s just words. I hope he [Leniu] gets this message. I hope he is doing well mentally.”

NRL judiciary chair Geoff Bellew said in his summary of reasons for the eight-week ban that the panel were “satisfied the player did intend to use the word ‘monkey’ as a racist comment”.

“The panel did not accept the player’s claimed ignorance that he was not aware that ‘monkey’ was, when used towards the Indigenous community, a racist term; in light of that finding, the panel was satisfied that the offending fell at a high degree of objective seriousness,” Bellew wrote.
Careful Guac… JT will be asking for 6 weeks for trivialising the hurt…
 

Eaglehauser

Die Hard
Personally I think NRL have caved into pressure and made Leniu a scape goat. They have opened a massive can of worms and it will be interesting to see how players and coaches use this to their advantage especially in the lead up to the finals.

The Sam Kerr article extract below shows her defence and what the acceptance is around racism by the experts and authorities, which I admit I was also unaware of the intricacies around the issue.

“As many experts and leading anti-racism groups have pointed out, interpersonal comments can be offensive, abusive, or inappropriate, however racism can only be perpetrated against a marginalised person or group, which anti-racism frameworks are specifically designed to protect.

“The Diversity Council of Australia definition is: ‘Racism is when an individual or organisation with race-based societal power discriminates, excludes, or disadvantages a racially based person because of their race, colour, descent, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or immigrant status. Racism can be conscious or unconscious, active, or passive, obvious, or subtle’.”



Based on the article, Leniu being of a minority can only be seen as being offensive but not racist. This is why it will be interesting now if anyone calls someone an offensive name which probably happens 100s of times, where it will all lead. The door has been left opened now by the NRL.

The precedent was already set with Paul Gallen, such offensive slurs should be a $10k fine (with possible 1 game suspension)* In saying that, Paul Gallen's comments were correct to be deemed racist since he is not of a minority.

*Only if playing Manly the next week
 
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frank stokes

I discriminate indiscriminately
“With race-based societal power”… so does this change from country to country or is it just that you can’t be racist against a whitey?
Ie. if Spencer made the comments in a Polynesian country would he then be part of the ‘empowered’ group?
Personally I think the definition is BS… if you discriminate against or categorise someone based upon their ancestry / skin colour then it is racism… but what would I know, I am not part of some emotionally-charged bureaucracy…
 

Eagle 1

First Grader
Lets get some clarity here ....
If I call the Rooster team a bunch of soft Cocks am I racist ?
And how many weeks would I be suspended from Silvertails forum ?
Geez bozo, talk about throwing fresh meat out as shark bait.
 
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