Mal Meninga says the alleged incident shows racial vilification has not yet gone from rugby league. (AAP: Tracey Nearmy, file photo)
Australian Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga says the fan who allegedly racially abused South Sydney centre Greg Inglis during Saturday’s match against Penrith should be banned for life.
Inglis left the field to undertake a head injury assessment during the Rabbitohs’ 18-14 loss at Penrith Stadium.
He was booed as he made his way to the bench, with one fan allegedly calling him a ‘black dog’.
The Panthers yesterday issued an apology to Inglis for the behaviour, and are now investigating the incident alongside the NRL Integrity Unit.
An angry Meninga labelled the act ‘disgusting’ and said the person responsible should be banned for life.
“I thought racial vilification was gone out of our game, it obviously hasn’t,” he said.
“I reckon Greg will be hurting, and I applaud him for his actions and hopefully they find the perpetrator and kick him out for life.
“It does make me angry because you know how much effort he [Inglis] puts in to the recognition of Aboriginal people and the work he does around the game.”
Greg Inglis was allegedly the victim of racial abuse from someone in the crowd at Souths’ game against Penrith. (AAP: David Moir)
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg personally reached out to Inglis yesterday to reiterate that the game will not tolerate racism.
“I wanted to make sure he realised that, that’s not the game, that’s not what rugby league stands for and he knows that,” Greenberg said.
“He’s got faith in us to do what’s right and we will do that if we can find that person, and as I said, Penrith have spent a lot of time dealing with CCTV footage.”
Greenberg would not confirm a potential life ban for the person involved but did say the NRL will “throw the book at them”.
“It is one person, but it is one person too many,” he said.
“The message is simple, we don’t tolerate that sort of behaviour and nor does the community.
“We will do everything we can to make sure that person is not welcome inside the game.”
Inglis has been at the centre of a number of race-related incidents in the past.
In 2013 he was the victim of a racial attack on a social media website, while in 2010 former New South Wales winger Timana Tahu walked out of State of Origin camp after hearing then assistant coach Andrew Johns use a racist slur to describe Inglis.