Former Test star Jason Stevens was more upset than most at Manly prop Addin Fonua-Blake’s tirade at the referees in last weekend’s controversial loss to Newcastle.
Stevens has a special needs sister and was deeply offended by the Sea Eagles’ forward’s offensive comments.
Fonua-Blake has been banned for two weeks for calling referee Grant Atkins a “f—ing retard’.
Fonua-Blake continued to vent in the sheds afterwards, allegedly screaming “Are your eyes f—— painted on you bunch of spastics”.
But Stevens is a devout Christian and believes in forgiveness – now that Fonua-Blake has taken responsibility for his actions.
“I thought his first apology didn’t address the issue – that he insulted a very vulnerable group of people,” the former Sharks and Dragons star said.
“But then he actually took ownership of his words and that made a difference.
“Life can be incredibly hard for people with a disability and their carers.
“I don’t think Fonua-Blake is mean-spirited and I was a hothead on the field myself.
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“There were times I abused my own team-mates in the heat of battle – but I always apologised afterwards and made sure we were all good.
“There is a stigma associated with people with disabilities and they do it tough and I would like to think he now realises that.”