Mitchell Moses suspended for two matches following gay slur
West Tigers and NSW Under 20s player, Mitchell Moses, has been suspended for two matches following a homophobic slur uttered during the Under 20s State of Origin Match at Sportingbet Stadium on May 4.
Moses' slur, directed at Queensland player Luke Bateman, was picked up by a referee’s microphone and broadcast live to the watching TV audience.
19-year old Moses was brought before the NRL review board on Monday night. He faced charges for breaching the League's anti-vilification policy.
Shortly after the incident NRL CEO Dave Smith addressed media saying there is no place for discrimination in Rugby League.
“Rugby League is a game for everyone and we will not tolerate slurs based on gender, race, sexuality or any other matter.”
Moses attended Rugby League Central on Monday morning and apologised for the incident. He also apologised to Queensland player Luke Bateman. Moses will be required to attend an awareness program to understand the importance of eliminating discrimination on and off the field.
NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg said players needed to understand they were role models. “Our young players need to demonstrate they not only have great skill on the field but also have the right value set. This is part of being involved in and progressing Rugby League, which is a game for everyone.”
He added, “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."
The incident came less than a month after the NRL became a signatory of an anti-homophobia framework spearheaded by the organisers of the Bingham Cup, a gay rugby tournament scheduled to be held in Sydney in August.
The signatories included the NRL, Football Federation, Australian Rugby Union, Cricket Australia and the AFL. The framework commits the organisations to introduce policies that would make their sport more inclusive. This includes policies to eliminate homophobia from their sports.
Andrew Purchas, President of the Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 said he was very pleased with the NRL’s rapid response to the incident regarding Mitchell Moses.
“We’re very pleased the NRL has jumped on this so quickly,” Purchas told GNN. “They reached out to us to assist them in providing counselling and we have directed them to Pride in Diversity. It’s excellent that the NRL have taken this matter more seriously than they did the Ryan Stig issue, [Stig is a Newcastle Knights player who uttered homophobic remarks on social media in 2013] and we commend them for that and look forward to continuing to work with them as they develop their anti-homophobia policy, which they will implement by the time the Bingham Cup occurs in August.
Purchas said the incident highlights the reality that homophobia is still an issue throughout society.
“I think it’s as big an issue with the younger generation as it is with the older generation, said Purchas. “We who live in the city community somewhat live in a bubble and our experience locally isn’t necessarily reflective of what is happening in a broader society. That is one of the primary reasons we sought to engage with the major sporting codes and have them formalise their approach to dealing with this type of discrimination.”
With the Bingham Cup less than four months away, Purchas told GNN the wheels are in motion for delivering a standout sporting event.
“We have 28 teams committed to participate. There is a lot of excitement locally and internationally. We have an enormous amount of support – it’s three and half months ‘til kick off and we still have lots of work to do – but we are very happy with the progress.”