- Jun 22, 2012
Absolute farce. The only organisation in the world where there is zero accountability is the NRL with its untouchable troupe of yellow muppets.Manly Sea Eagles have released exclusive pictures that call into question the official referee’s report of a second verbal attack from star prop Addin Fonua-Blake. SEE THE PICTURES HERE
Dean Ritchie, The Daily Telegraph
July 7, 2020 9:16pm
These are the exclusive pictures which clear Manly’s under-fire prop Addin Fonua-Blake of engaging in a confrontation with referee Grant Atkins after Sunday’s game at Brookvale Oval.
The official referee’s report alleged Fonua-Blake and Atkins clashed in the Lottoland tunnel with the Manly prop saying: “Are your eyes f…ing painted on you bunch of spastics”.
Manly however claim a different version of events unfolded with Fonua-Blake walking directly into the Sea Eagles’ dressing room and Atkins entering the nearby referee’s room later.
The Sea Eagles say Fonua-Blake yelled and vented from inside the dressing room: “Are their eyes f…ing painted on those bunch of spastics.”
While the words are similar and still unsavoury, Manly claim there wasn’t any personal confrontation between Fonua-Blake and Atkins in the tunnel.
And the club has the Brookvale Oval video evidence to prove it. The footage shows Fonua-Blake was about five metres in front of Atkins walking into the sheds.
“Addin takes full responsibility for his actions but it is important to correct the record in terms of what happened in the tunnel and dressing room areas,” said Manly chief executive, Stephen Humphreys.
“There was no aggressive confrontation at all. Addin was venting as he was entering the dressing room and he then moved inside the dressing room.
“At no stage did he direct his comment at match officials.”
In a video interview on Manly’s website, Fonua-Blake said: “I remember walking back into the sheds and I was speaking loudly. I wasn’t aware the refs were in the tunnel and they must have heard me say what I said in the sheds.
“I didn’t say it directly to their faces. It was just me venting out loud n the sheds and they must have heard it.
“I shouldn’t have said what I said but emotions got the better of me. If I could take it back, I would.”
Fonua-Blake’s partner, Ana, said he was “pretty stupid” for what he said
“Growing up I used the word (retard) differently, not knowing what it actually meant. Now that I know what it means and I’m very apologetic. I did not mean any harm and I didn’t mean it in a derogatory type of way to offend
anyone,” he said.
Confronted by an ugly public backlash, a furious NRL will impose beefed-up penalties for any players who abuse referees or vilify people with disabilities or who are autistic.
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Fonua-Blake enters the Lottoland tunnel with the match officials roughly five metres behind him.
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... before turning into the Manly shed.
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The match officials walk past without confrontation.
NRL interim CEO Andrew Abdo has asked his integrity unit to explore whether Fonua-Blake should be hit with a second charge – and a possible further suspension – for his comments about Atkins.
After being told of a second offensive outburst by Fonua-Blake, ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys revealed plans for increased punishment for players.
The “spastic” comment came just moments after Fonua-Blake was sent off after fulltime for calling Atkins a “f…ing retard.”
Manly’s 118kg prop pleaded guilty to a grade three contrary conduct charge for his on-field behaviour and accepted a two-game suspension.
Yet when made aware of Fonua-Blake’s second tirade at Atkins, the NRL immediately began discussing whether the Sea Eagles giant should be charged and punished again.
The integrity unit couldn’t reach a final decision on Tuesday afternoon and will further discuss the drama on Wednesday.
Fonua-Blake was irate that Manly – behind 14-12 - was denied a late penalty which could have levelled the scores against Newcastle last Sunday.
V’landys confirmed a possible second charge against Fonua-Blake was “being reviewed.”
“The rules will definitely change. There will certainly be changes made moving forward from this incident because there is some learning from it. It will be definitely be looked it,” he said.
“There will be harsher penalties for swearing at referee and players who take a particular group in the community and make fun of them. We don’t want people in the community to feel uncomfortable because some players slag down on them.
“As role models, players have to understand there are ramifications to their words and that’s non-negotiable with me.
“Being a role model comes with obligations and they are obligations we take very seriously. You’ve got kids are who handicapped or disadvantaged and these role models are basically promoting them being called names. That doesn’t wash well with me at all.
“Everyone says things in the heat of the moment and thing we don’t actually mean but my concern, for him to continue on, is a serious concern.”
Abdo said Fonua-Blake has breached the game’s Anti-Vilification Code.
“What happened on Sunday was divisive and against the fabric of what we stand for as a game,” he said. “There is no place for comments like that in our game. Sport is about bringing people and communities together and we pride ourselves on being an inclusive game for everyone.
“Now that the match review process is complete, I want to speak directly with Addin and the club about the incidents before determining any penalty.”
Privately Manly claim they didn’t have the required staff - due to the COVID-19 NRL bubble – to ensure Fonua-Blake was escorted from the field and safely into the dressing.
Despite being told by NRL head of football Graham Annesley that his decision on Sunday was wrong, video referee Jared Maxwell has not only retained in first grade but been appointed to adjudicate three games this round.