In Rugby League, You Can Bash A Fan. But Don’t You Say Anything Bad About The Queen


If you’ve missed the latest sea of white tears and outrage over someone’s comments about the death of the Queen, it’s quite a show. Grab some popcorn and settle in.

During the week, Caitlin Moran, a star half back for the Newcastle Knights in the Women’s NRL, used her personal Instagram page to post her personal opinion on the Monarch’s passing.

She’s not a fan, apparently: “Todays a good fkn day, uncle Luke announces his tour, and this dumb dog dies Happy fkn Friday”.

It sparked a social media frenzy, and it really, really, really upset the terminally triggered Sydney shock jock Ray Hadley, who described the comment as “The most reprehensible thing I’ve ever seen connected to ruby league.”

We’ll come back to Hadley in a moment, because it also caused the National Rugby league to announce Moran was being punished with a one-match ban, plus a fine equivalent to 25 per cent of her salary (suspended for a year if she ‘behaves herself’).

The NRL also issued a sternly worded statement, which served to reinforce how clueless the NRL really is: “Rugby league is an inclusive game and has a proud and strong relationship with many communities. Regardless of any personal views, all players and officials must adhere to the professional standards expected of them and on this occasion, the public comments made by the player have caused damage to the game.”

Firstly, rugby league is NOT an inclusive game? The Moree Boomerangs – an Aboriginal team – were banned from competition for a decade, because they were black.

Secondly, Moran is an Aboriginal woman. Are we really surprised she has a seething disdain for the Queen? Of the seven billion people on this earth, Elizabeth II was by some margin the single greatest living beneficiary of the theft of Indigenous land.

She also represents the privilege denied people like Moran and her family. So when it comes to commenting on Royals, in life or in death, Moran and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get a free pass. Period.

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On that front, punters don’t  need to add the phrase ‘I don’t agree, but…’ in a bid to appear to be supporting Moran, also known as having your woke cake, and eating it too. No-one actually gives two hoots what you do or don’t agree with – this isn’t about you. Either support the woman, or shut up.

Thirdly, if Moran’s comment about the Queen is the “most reprehensible thing” Ray Hadley has seen “connected to rugby league” then Ray Hadley must have tuned out from the innumerable sexual assault scandals that have gripped the sport from its inception.

Let’s pretend for a second that what Moran actually WAS reprehensible… it couldn’t even qualify as the most reprehensible thing connected to rugby league in the past week. That crown goes to the NRL’s decision to allow Penrith star Taylan May to play in the final series, despite just being convicted of assaulting a teenage fan and copping a two-match ban as a result.

So you can be convicted of assaulting teenage fans and still play footy, but express your personal views about the death of unarguably one of the world’s most polarising figures, and you’re out. Plus you lose a quarter of your salary.

May, for the record, was fined $7,500 with half of it suspended. I’m guessing that’s not one quarter of his salary (but it’s probably close to a quarter of Moran’s).

All up, a shit show all round, except for Moran, who has inspired a host of blackfellas and whitefellas to come out on social media in support of her (along with the Rugby League Players Association).

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