Warriors fans ejected for racially abusing indigenous Panthers player


A group of around eight Warriors fans were thrown out of Friday night’s game against the Panthers for racially abusing winger Brent Naden.

The spectators in their 20s, who were wearing a mixture of Warriors, All Blacks and Kiwis jerseys were removed from the venue by police in the first half.

Naden, who is an indigenous Australian, complained to a trainer, who reported it to the police. At halftime it was shown on the TV coverage the spectators being removed from the venue.

Given the travel restrictions, the ejected spectators would likely have been Kiwis living in Australia.

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Warriors CEO Cameron George was quick to respond, sending out a message.

“We do not condone any sort of racial remarks towards anyone playing rugby league or in general,” George said.

“We completely support a tough stance against such behaviour.

“The New Zealand Warriors embrace all cultures and race and proudly promote inclusiveness of all cultures and race in our great game.

Brent Naden was the victim of racial abuse by some Warriors fans.

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Brent Naden was the victim of racial abuse by some Warriors fans.

The NRL’s acting CEO Andrew Abdo was also critical of the Warriors fans and said action will be taken against them.

“Racism and vilification will not be tolerated in our game,” Abdo said in a statement.

“Bringing communities and cultures together is part of rugby league.

“We pride ourselves on being inclusive and taking a leadership role in driving social change.

“Any fan found to have racially abused a player or another fan will not be welcome at our games.

“We have shown in the past that we will take the strongest possible action to ensure fans guilty of racial abuse are banned from attending the Telstra Premiership.

“We will work closely with NSW Police, stadium authorities and the clubs to determine the facts and take decisive action against anyone guilty of racial abuse.

“Later tonight, I will call any player involved to ensure they are receiving the support they need. We will always stand by our players.”

The Panthers won the game over the Warriors 18-12.

Speaking in his post match press conference, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary confirmed Naden was upset by the abuse.

“He said that’s not the first time he’s heard that in his life, but in this forum it has been,” Cleary said.

“So he certainly took offence to it at the time, but he’s OK now.

“I don’t know exactly what was said, but it definitely affected him and by the sounds of it, the appropriate action was taken.

“What happens from here, I’m not too sure.”

Cleary confirmed the spectators racially abused Naden on more than one occasion before they were evicted.

“I don’t really know the exact details, it’s obviously a big deal,” Cleary said.

“There will need to be some sort of investigation that goes into it. After that, our main objective is making sure Brent is alright.

“He’s OK, it definitely affected him. He even said he didn’t expect it to affect him, he was a bit surprise that he was affected like that.

“So I don’t know that means. Whether what was said was more than he’s had before, I don’t know, but he’s OK.”