Manly’s Addin Fonua-Blake has received further punishment after abusing NRL referees in the Sea Eagles’ loss to Newcastle on the weekend.
Fonua-Blake was originally handed a two-match ban by the NRL after being heard on microphone’s giving referee Grant Atkins a spray after being sent off, reportedly calling him a “f***ing re***d”.
Fonua-Blake then gave a second spray to the referees in tunnel after the game, reportedly calling the officials “spa**ics”. And as a result, the NRL have charged Fonua-Blake with breaching of the leagues Anti-Vilification Code.
As part of Fonua-Blake’s punishment, he will pay a $20,000 finE which will go to the Wheelchair Rugby League Australia to help purchase wheelchairs.
As an extra punishment, Fonua-Blake will also volunteer as a referee in the wheelchair competition.
Acting NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said that the decision for these punishments was more about education and rehabilitation rather than missing further games.
“The focus of this penalty is about rehabilitation and education, it’s not punitive. I do not believe Addin missing more matches will enhance his understanding or respect for people with a disability, but embarking on a program such as this will have a lifelong impact on his thinking.” Abdo said.
“I see this as an opportunity to provide positive change for Addin and his experiences will also rub off on the broader playing group. Increasing the suspension is an easy decision but what is more important is driving change in attitudes.”
Abdo is also calling to the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) that the match review committee rules be changed so that future incidents such as the one with Fonua-Blake do not happen again and stronger punishments are handed out.
“Intolerance is not an excuse for the responsibility our professional players carry. There is no tolerance for comments like we witnessed on Sunday.”