Wests Tigers and NSW playmaker Mitchell Moses has apologised to Queensland Under-20s lock Josh Bateman and NRL officials for the homophobic slur that has cost him a two match suspension.
Moses, who called Bateman a ‘‘f---ing gay c---’’ as the teams packed a 69th minute scrum during Saturday night’s Under-20s State of Origin, attended Rugby League Central to apologise to officials in person and also spoke to the promising Canberra forward about the offensive remark, which was heard by television viewers.
NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said the comments were not acceptable under any circumstances and that Moses had become the first player suspended for breaching the game’s anti-vilification policy. The Tigers playmaker, who steered NSW to a 30-8 win, was also ordered to undergo an anti-vilification education and awareness program.
‘‘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,’’ Greenberg 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.’’
The incident occurred less than a month after the NRL, Australian Rugby Union, Football Federation Australia, the AFL and Cricket Australia, held a joint press conference to announce they were committed to ensuring homophobic slurs were not part of their sports.