Peter FitzSimons has ripped into Addin Fonua-Blake and the Manly Sea-Eagles for their “ridiculous” response to the NRL star’s ugly outburst at referees on the weekend.
Fonua-Blake has been sidelined for two weeks after pleading guilty to a grade-three contrary conduct charge for calling referee Grant Atkins a “f—ing retard’ and denied an alleged second verbal attack at the official following Manly’s loss to the Newcastle Knights.
“Growing up I sort of used the word differently, not knowing what it actually meant,” Fonua-Blake said about his offensive comments to referees.
“Now that I know what it actually means, I’m very apologetic. I did not mean any harm and I didn’t mean to use it in a derogatory way to offend anyone.”
FitzSimons was baffled and angered by Fonua-Blake’s attempted apology, as well as Manly’s endorsement of the response.
“There’s no doubt that he said this. The first part has been caught on microphone. His first [excuse] is ‘I didn’t know what these terms meant’. Seriously?! ” he told Wide World of Sports’ Five Minutes with Fitzy.
“If I was the coach or the CEO and he was putting out the statement, you’re going to put out into the public domain, ‘I didn’t know what these offensive terms meant’, I would say, ‘You’ve got to give me something better than that.’
“It is absurd to hurl an insult, offensive insults at people and then say ‘I’m doing it in an attacking context, in the pejorative context, but I didn’t know the pejorative meaning.’
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“Then it gets better. Because then he goes into the tunnel and is reportedly overhead shouting [again] at the referees.
“There’s another one. ‘They may have been around me but I didn’t direct it at them’. Please.
“Man up, ‘fess up, say, ‘I’ve stuffed up, I’m really sorry, I’ll never do it again, I’m really sorry, I’ll never do it again, I get it.’ But this ludicrous waste of everybody’s time – I’m surprised that Des Hasler, who I like, would associate with these kind of excuses.
“It’s ridiculous, it’s just ridiculous.”
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FitzSimons said it was irrelevant whether players like or dislike microphones on referees or in intimate settings during football broadcasts, because TV helps fund the livelihoods of those in the NRL.
He said the multiple ways Fonua-Blake’s comments were offensive warranted a more severe penalty than just a few weeks.
“I don’t like cameras in the dressing room, but it’s wiser heads than me that say this adds to the broadcast and brings in the big bucks and pays our wages,” FitzSimons said.
“That kind of abuse of a referee, particularly on microphones, the swearing part – I bet Channel Nine’s not happy – you’re hurting your broadcasters who are paying the big bucks, you’re using offensive terms that alienate people that do not deserve to be alienated and you’re abusing the referee.
“If that’s not worth four weeks, on all those counts – you cannot run a game where you have blatant disrespect for the referees – and using nasty terms that alienate people, forget about it.”