Banned: Tigers five-eighth Mitchell Moses. Photo: Jonathan Ng
Wests Tigers under-20s player Mitchell Moses has been suspended for two games for making a homophobic slur at Canberra Raiders lock Luke Bateman.
Moses apologised to Bateman on Monday after he called the Queensland representative a ''f---ing gay c---'' during the under-20s State of Origin game on Saturday night at Penrith.
The comments were detected by referee Chris Sutton's microphone and were clearly audible on the television coverage of the match, which was watched by 103,000 viewers on Fox Sports.
Bateman did not want to make a complaint and was unfazed by the incident.
The NRL's head of football, Todd Greenberg, said Mitchell would also be required to undergo an anti-vilification education and awareness program as part of driving an inclusive sporting culture.
“The NRL has consistently made it clear that there is no place for any form of discrimination in our game and we will take firm action if it occurs,” he said. “The player has accepted responsibility and apologised for his comments, which was taken into consideration in determining the penalty.
“After careful assessment, we have decided to issue the player with a two-match suspension. We will also require him to participate in a program to improve his awareness and understanding of the importance of eliminating discrimination, particularly homophobia, in the game.”
Greenberg said all players should understand that they are role models for rugby league.
“Our young players need to demonstrate they not only have great skill on the field but also have the right value set," he said. "This is part of being involved in and progressing rugby league, which is a game for everyone.”
The NRL match-review committee reviewed the incident and recommended that the NRL act under the existing anti-vilification code. The NRL is canvassing advice on appropriate programs that are aimed at creating inclusive sporting cultures and eliminating homophobia in sport.
A precedent for dealing with such cases was set by the NRL in 2009 when NSW Origin skipper Paul Gallen was fined $10,000 and stripped of the Cronulla captaincy for racially abusing St George Illawarra prop Micky Paea.