St George Illawarra veteran Corey Norman has been banned for the Dragons' Round 1 clash against Cronulla and hit with a $10,000 fine following a breach notice handed down by the NRL.
Norman was involved in a street brawl in Sydney last month after he and former Broncos player James Segeyaro were racially vilified by a group of strangers.
NRL boss Andrew Abdo explained that he believes Norman could have avoided the altercation despite being provoked.
“This week I met with Corey and gave him the opportunity to talk me through the video footage and his decision making step by step as the incident happened.’’ Abdo said.
“There’s no doubt the initial incident involved a degree of provocation, but ultimately I do not accept that Corey had no other option than to have participated in a street fight.
“After listening to Corey and his views, and considering all the material provided, I have determined that the provisional sanction should be adjusted. This is how our system works.
“We issue a provisional breach notice with a proposed penalty and then we allow the player time to respond before finalising the matter.
“We have been clear and consistent that provocation is not an excuse to engage in any form of violence. Corey is a high-profile player who was involved in a street fight, we expect better decision making from him.
“It is important to say that abuse of our players of any kind is unacceptable and the NRL will take whatever action is possible to ensure players are protected from unwarranted abuse. We will continue to invest in educating players on how to deal with difficult situations off the field.”
Norman was originally hit with a two-game ban and $20,000 fine prior to appealing the NRL's breach notice, and will still undergo the appropriate education and training.
The 30-year-old will return for the Dragons' Round 2 clash against the Cowboys on Saturday, March 20.