Depending on whether you are a fan of Quade Cooper, or someone who wishes his foray into rugby league had been explored in greater depth, the punishment may or may not have fit the crime.
But here's the bitter pill for the ARU after they dished out some medicine their own: For all of the tough talking, they need to ensure Cooper isn't lost to the game, especially at a time when rival codes are filling their trust funds with record hauls of cash.
At this stage, Cooper remains in a contractual halfway house, allowed out on parole but not quite over the line. Thanks to rugby's delightfully eccentric signing process, Cooper is on board with the Queensland Reds but not with the national body.
The ARU has hit him with a hefty fine for his unpolished critique of the state of the game but they now need to pull out all stops to make sure Cooper remains in the union, however awkward it may be with certain staff members. Here's why.
It must pain Waratahs and Brumbies fan to read this but the Queensland Reds are the best thing going for Australian rugby at the moment. Their rise from the depths of despair and descent from the heights of football comedy has been rapid, successful and executed with skill on the field and in the boardroom.
The Reds are a big-ticket brand in Queensland and it's fair to say that at a local level, their lustre has largely surpassed that of the national side. They average more than 30,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium and are pushing for 40,000 paying members.
If Cooper is on board, don't bet they won't get there. He's hardly the sole reason for Queensland's success but the QRU understands his importance to their business and his ability to sell tickets and win media real estate. If an agreement can't be reached, the ARU's standout franchise will feel the most pain.
Contrary to the advice of media managers and corporate communications sheriffs, a dash of controversy here and there is an undeniably good thing. Suffice to say, Cooper ticks a few boxes in that regard.
The stuff about pub scuffles at 3am, everybody can do without. The odd ruffle to Richie McCaw's Iceman flat-top, on the other hand, is a good way to make sure you lead off the sports bulletin and pure gold for a digital audience.
Cooper is a combative type who, for better or worse, backs himself and his abilities.
Super Rugby, in particular, is a largely barb-free zone which exists on a diet of compliments to other teams and rating the difficulty of particular road trips. Uncorking the occasional hand grenade is always worth the risk, as long as its thrown in the right direction.
Rugby can't exist in a vacuum in Australia and continue to preach to a dedicated core audience. To grow, it needs to be aggressive in its marketing and have players that have appeal to those sports fans unlikely to get on Rugby Heaven and debate the merits of the Western Force scrummaging.
It hasn't been because of his football of late, but Cooper has become 'a name'. Pop quiz a room full of league and AFL fans and see how many Wallabies they can name. I'd be stunned if Quade Cooper wasn't the first name from their lips.
There's no doubt Cooper needs to learn to handle his notoriety better at times. There's also no doubt he has dominated Australian rugby headlines and pub discussions since before last year's World Cup.
He makes things happen
Given Cooper's efforts in a Wallaby jumper post-knee surgery, it occasionally feels like the form with the Reds in 2011 is like a rare vintage never to be seen again. That year, Cooper enthralled Super Rugby fans with his attacking instinct amid a Reds side attuned to his playmaking.
It didn't successfully transplant to the green and gold but given what has transpired over recent weeks, there may have been underlying factors behind his muddled contribution. Or maybe he just didn't make the step up when the pressure was at its highest.
Either way, it's unlikely Cooper would have stood and watched a five-minute maul eventually concede a penalty against the All Blacks without screaming for the ball.
He may have missed, but he would have fired a shot.
There's no middle ground
Some people detest Quade Cooper. Some people love him and wait for hours after games for a photo. And almost nobody wades into a debate about Cooper and shrugs their shoulders.
Whether it be his football, his words, his management, his friends or his relationships, Cooper divides opinion. And that's not even scratching the surface of how he is regarded by our friends across the Tasman.
Ironically, while punters can rarely reach a consensus on the subject of Cooper, the middle ground is exactly where the ARU need to stand as they try to manage a player who is at once their biggest headache and potentially greatest asset.