Manly’s Addin Fonua-Blake has been fined $20,000 as the NRL on Friday closed the book on the star forward’s ugly referee spray.
Fonua-Blake was earlier this week suspended for two matches after he was sent off after the final siren in his team’s loss to Newcastle.
An NRL investigation into the incident found grounds for suspending the rampaging prop following reports he abused referee Grant Atkins by calling him a “f***ing retard”.
The NRL charged Fonua-Blake with breaching the game’s anti-vilification code after he was also accused of labelling the whistleblowers “spastics” as he walked through the stadium tunnel back to the Manly dressing rooms.
Following widespread outrage at Fonua-Blake’s comments and his explanation of not truly understanding the meaning of the terms he used, the NRL announced it would consider further action against him.
The game announced on Friday afternoon Fonua-Blake has been fined a further $20,000.
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The money paid by Fonua-Blake will be redistributed to Wheelchair Rugby League Australia for the purchase of wheelchairs.
“The focus of this penalty is about rehabilitation and education, it’s not punitive,” NRL acting CEO Andrew Abdo said.
“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.
Addin Fonua-Blake will have a fortnight on the sidelines.Source:Getty Images
“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.”
Manly released a statement from CEO Stephen Humphreys to announce the club would not be contesting the punishment handed down.
“The distress and offence caused to people with a disability and their loved ones by the language used by Addin Fonua-Blake on Sunday is totally unacceptable,” Humphreys said.
“Both Addin and the Club apologises unreservedly to the Disability Community for the offence caused.
“Addin continues to acknowledge his mistake, express his remorse as well as his deep regret for what he did and he now fully understands the offence his words caused to so many people. He has also talked about his desire to repair the damage caused and to make amends for it as best he can. He has been working with the Club on specific ways in which he can best achieve this objective.
“The NRL has now reached their final determination on the matter. Both Addin and the Club fully accept the NRL position without challenge or complaint.
“Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, including Addin Fonua-Blake and all of his teammates, take great learning from this most regrettable experience but we can, and will, also use it as inspiration to become a strong and active advocate for the Disability Community and their Rights. In this way, we can again demonstrate all of the immensely positive attributes and capabilities of the great game of Rugby League.”
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