NRL to take no action over Jamie Soward’s alleged sledge of Robbie Farah’s late mother
NRL officials have wiped their hands of Jamie Soward’s alleged sledge that was believed to be directed at Robbie Farah’s late mother, despite a precedent set by the AFL in which players have been suspended and fined for making insulting remarks about rival players’ mothers.
Farah refused to reveal exactly what Soward said to him during Sunday’s clash at the SCG.
But whatever was said sent the Wests Tigers skipper into an instant rage and the two players had to be separated after a heated exchange.
Although the sledge cannot be heard on Channel 9’s match audio, Farah is heard saying to Soward: “What did you say about my mum?”
Soward then says: “I apologise. I apologise.”
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Farah lost his mother Sonia last year to pancreatic cancer.
Farah was still seething after the match but said: “I’m not happy about it but I’ll leave it on the field.”
While Farah didn’t want to go on with it, the fact the NRL decided not to properly investigate the incident flies in the face of the tough stand the AFL has taken on similar incidents in recent years.
In 2011, West Coast’s Patrick McGinnity was fined and received a one-match ban for a remark about a Melbourne player’s mother, while last year the Western Bulldogs suspended Will Minson for making an insulting comment about the mother of a Port Adelaide player.
Both players also had counselling in relation to the AFL’s respect and responsibility policies.
The decision not to charge Soward raises the debate about what can be considered a “fair” sledge in the modern game.
In recent years the NRL has worked extremely hard to rid the game of racial abuse, with players now fined heavily for racial insults.
You are entitled to question if allegedly sledging a rival about his recently deceased mother should be passed as acceptable at a time when the game is trying to sell itself to more women and families.
It was also reported that Soward was reacting to a remark made about his fiance, but Soward did not realise Farah didn’t make the comment.
When asked why Soward wasn’t charged on Monday, an NRL spokesman said: “There was no complaint made on the field. There is no referee report on it. It is a very hard one to do a lot with.”
However, the NRL has the power to investigate racial slurs even if players don’t want to go on with it.
One infamous example of this was in 2009 when Cronulla captain Paul Gallen was fined $10,000 for a racial insult he made towards St George Illawarra’s Mickey Paea.
Paea declined to make an official on-field complaint at the time and the players reportedly reconciled after the game.
But the NRL still investigated the incident and fined Gallen $10,000 for a breach of the player code of conduct.