Jason Paris, CEO of One New Zealand, asked how biased the NRL referees and bunker were during the magic round clash against the Penrith Panthers in early May, concluding that it felt like the Warriors were always playing against 14 players.
The NRL's investigation into the incident might be closed, but in a statement, they labelled the accusations as baseless and unacceptable, and while acknowledging comments on officiating would be made, warned all parties associated with the competition that comments calling into question the integrity of officials wouldn't be tolerated.
"Following the game between the New Zealand Warriors and the Penrith Panthers on 6 May 2023, the CEO of One NZ, Jason Paris, made various public comments regarding the integrity of NRL referees and match officials," the NRL wrote in a statement.
"The NRL has raised its concerns with these comments with Mr Paris, and as a result he has agreed to unconditionally withdraw those statements and issue a public apology.
"Respecting and protecting NRL referees and match officials is a matter of critical importance to the NRL. While there may be differences of view about particular decisions made during a game, comments that call into question the integrity or honesty of NRL referees and match officials are baseless and unacceptable.
"The NRL considers this matter closed, but all those associated with the game should know that any comments that call into question the integrity of NRL referees and match officials will not be tolerated in our game."
As part of the agreement with the NRL, referees involved and the match officials organisation, Paris took to his Twitter - the platform where it all started - on Friday afternoon to detail a public apology.
Paris apologised by saying he made the comments in the head of the moment, and unreservedly apologised.
I unreservedly apologise for the comments I made about NRL match officials.
I am a passionate rugby league fan and have been for decades. I made those comments in the heat of the moment and am sorry for any impact they may have had on the reputation of any NRL referee.
— Jason Paris (@JasonCParis) June 2, 2023
"I unreservedly apologise for the comments I made about NRL match officials," Paris wrote.
"I am a passionate rugby league fan and have been for decades. I made those comments in the heat of the moment and am sorry for any impact they may have had on the reputation of any NRL referee.
"NRL referees are not cheats and are not biased. They go to work every week and do a tough job so that we get to enjoy the greatest game.
"Impugning their professionalism was a mistake. People can watch a game of footy and legitimately question the decision-making, but questioning the integrity of officials is unacceptable.
"Like many Warriors supporters I back my team 100 percent and will continue to do so.
"I hope we can move past this distraction and focus on enjoying the game we all love."