NRL Judiciary Fail.
“I’m not happy with what I saw when I looked back at the tape of me addressing the referee,” – Johnathan Thurston (via FoxSports)
Neither are we JT, neither are we. You cannot fathom the immensity of my disappointment with the NRL Judiciary’s failure to hand down any sort of punishment for his outburst at referee Jason Robinson. Even if they decided not to suspend him, surely a fine would’ve been in order? The players need to be shown that they cannot address the referees and match officials with this sort of disrespect without suffering the consequences for their actions.
This failure on the NRL Judiciary’s part to act sets an awful precedent for future cases, and begs the question, why wasn’t he punished? His outburst didn’t even warrant a penalty, even though not five minutes later Matt Cross’s exclamation of “This is f**cking bulls**t” saw him penalised. Is this a severe case of double standards? Is it because JT is the captain that it’s alright for him to question/abuse the referees to his heart’s content?
As Steve Dean said:
“The level of what a sports star can get away with is directly proportionate to their fame… As such eight F-bombs and a “you should be the man of the match” are perfectly acceptable.” – Thurston is too famous to be punished
This reeks of an awful double standard, and may make it extremely difficult for the referees to retain any sense of control in a match, after all, if Johnathan Thurston can drop the F-bomb eight times and not be punished, what is there to stop anyone else doing it?
Warrior’s Skipper Micheal Luck summed it up perfectly:
“Anyone who sprays the ref can go back to that incident and say, ‘Well, Thurston didn’t even get penalised, why am I at the judiciary?’ – Via the Daily Telegraph
Apparently since it is OK for there to be swearing on Underbelly, then JT’s expletive laden rant doesn’t bring the game into disrepute. Ummmm NEWSFLASH Colin White, he’s not on an M-Rated television program about the gangland wars, he’s playing a ‘family-friendly’ sport in which children look up to you as a role model and an example. Since it is OK for characters on Underbelly to go around shooting and bashing the living daylights out of one another, is it also acceptable to do that? As one member of the Sunday Roast panel said “I don’t sit down and watch Underbelly with my seven year old son, I sit down and watch the football”
Mark my words, a dangerous precedent has been set here, and you can expect the repurcussions to be far reaching.
What do you tell the kid playing for his local footy team who decides to let one slip when a call goes against his team? It’s alright for Johnathan Thurston to talk like that, but you’re going to be sent off anyway.
Accoriding to the Code of Conduct of my local junior rugby league team The Hills Bulls:
“No person attending a match controlled by the League shall:”
“(a) Use offensive or obscene language to any player, referee, touch judge, official, or another spectator”
“(c) Dispute the decision of a referee or touch judge“
“(e) Behave in any way contrary to the game“
So, while it is against the rules for these kids to dispute a referees decision, it is alright for an NRL player to throw a tantrum and quite frankly carry on like a moody teenager who doesn’t get their own way? Definitely not. The Australian Rugby League ‘Laws of the Game and Notes on the Laws’ specifically states:
“1. A player is guilty of misconduct if he:
(f) Uses offensive or obscene language
(g) Disputes the decision of a Referee or Touch Judge
(i) Behaves in any way contrary to the true spirit of the game
It then goes on to say (admittedly underneath ‘explain reason for a penalty’ but the idea is the same):
“A player may ask the Referee the reason why a penalty kick has been given provided he does so respectfully“
AND furthermore it says in ‘Verbal abuse/foul language’:
“THE USE OF OBSCENE EXPLETIVES, THREATENING OR DENIGRATING WORDS IS NOT PERMITTED“
“Verbal abuse, obscene language and sledging, including comments or words that threaten or denigrate an opponent, referee or supporter is an infringement“
So apparently it is an infringement, and as such, shouldn’t he have been punished?
If I were Andrew Johns who said to touch judge Matt Cecchin “f**k you c**t” and was subsequently suspended for two weeks, or Ricky Stuart who lost his job as Australian coach for calling Ashley Klein a “f**king cheat” I’d be pretty pissed off right about now. Even Manly coach Des Hasler was facing a $10000 fine for saying touch judges Jeff Younis and Gavin Reynolds could do with an eye test at OPSM. Why is it that coaches can get fined for saying that the referees are doing a crappy job, but Johnathan Thurston can tell a referee that he deserves man of the match without any action being taken against him?
The NRL has the power to fine individuals for making disapproving remarks about match officials, unless said individual is Johnathan Thurston.