"The ABC has suspended me pending an investigation, so I have resigned to save them the trouble of conducting it": Ryan.

"The ABC has suspended me pending an investigation, so I have resigned to save them the trouble of conducting it": Ryan. Photo: Stefan Moore

Warren Ryan has sensationally handed in his resignation to long-time employer ABC, ending an association with rugby league that has stretched over five decades.

Ryan and fellow commentator David Morrow had been stood down pending an investigation into allegations he made a racist remark that went to air a fortnight ago.

The premiership-winning coach, who made a successful transition to the media, was alleged to have used the term "old darky" during the call of the recent Sydney Roosters-Canterbury match.

The 73-year-old made no apologies for the remark, which has effectively cut short a career spanning more than two decades at the station.

"The ABC has suspended me pending an investigation, so I have resigned to save them the trouble of conducting it," Ryan said.

"I have outlined my reasons for not wanting to continue there in a letter to them. As for the injustice done to David Morrow in standing him down, he wasn't even listening when I was comparing a blow-up on the field between the ref and a player to a scene in the film Gone with the Wind.

"David was busy retrieving other sports results from his smartphone. He only rejoined the commentary as I finished describing the humorous movie scene.

"The word used to describe the character was a direct quote from the film. There was no offence intended, so I won't be apologising. It would be insincere.

"Furthermore, there is no appeasing those who are determined to be offended. So that's it. I've had a long run and, for the most part, it's been very enjoyable. In effect, I've brought forward my intended end of season retirement date."

ABC management stood the veteran callers down after Ryan was heard to say: " 'There's a line in a movie where the old darky says, someone says, 'quittin' time'.

''He said, 'it's not quittin' time, I say quittin' time'. Then he yells out 'quittin' time!'

''In other words, you mustn't do that, that's our job.''

Morrow is being investigated over why he found the commentary humorous.

Ryan, who first made an impression on rugby league in Sydney when he was signed by St George as a junior from Newcastle in 1964, has been one of the most influential figures in the game.

Generations of fans have grown up listening to him call matches but his greatest contribution has been with clipboard in hand.

The man known as "Wok" is a two-time premiership-winning coach who has guided five first-grade clubs to finals footy.

A former first-grade player himself, Ryan was known for his tactical nous and many of the attacking and defensive innovations he brought into the game as a coach are still being aped by the mentors of today.

He was due to retire from commentary duties at the end of the season to spend more time travelling with his wife.