NRL players have hit out in the wake of Corey Norman’s punishment for his involvement in a street fight, saying the governing body isn’t doing enough to protect them.
The St George playmaker was fined $20,000 and banned for two games — one of them suspended — after being caught in a brawl in Cronulla in Sydney’s south last month.
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Former NRL player James Segeyaro was with Norman at the time and claims he was racially abused by a group of men, before one threatened to pull out a knife. The Rugby League Players Association isn’t happy, suggesting Norman was hung out to dry despite a police report showing the five-eighth was a victim, not the instigator.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, the RLPA has fielded calls from numerous players unhappy at how Norman has been treated, saying they feel like the league doesn’t have their back when it comes to being targeted in off-field incidents.
RLPA boss Clint Newton said: “Corey has our full support in disputing the sanctions outlined in his breach notice. Based on the information we have been provided, our view is that the proposed sanction is particularly unfair.
“We have provided our support and advice to Corey and his management throughout this matter and will continue to do so.
“We’ve also been contacted by a number of players who have shared their feelings of frustration with the lack of protection provided by the game in such instances where they, or their fellow players, have felt targeted.
Corey Norman may miss the start of the season.Source:Getty Images
“No doubt there has been examples where the game has moved swiftly to protect players, but like anything, there are opportunities to improve. This is an opportunity to have a much bigger conversation than just Corey’s matter.
“I’m yet to see evidence to suggest that introducing stiffer sanctions is the silver bullet. We need to come together and engage with industry experts to develop and implement a better system that focuses on supporting our people first, whilst also being underpinned by accountability, education and rehabilitation.”
Norman will respond to his breach notice this week and has received support from other figures within the game. Former NSW and Kangaroos forward Mark Geyer said the punishment was “very harsh” considering it emerged he was defending Segeyaro.
“I would have done the same thing. I’m getting hot under the collar” Geyer told Triple M. “I am the first to admit that Corey Norman’s reputation does precede him, but a $20,000 fine and a two-game suspension for basically sticking up for a mate, come on.
“That is way over the top. I worry about these sanctions that we are getting a little bit carried away with them.”
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys has vowed to get tough on player misbehaviour, which is part of the reason he wanted NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller to join the Commission.
However, that move has fallen through.
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