Inglis calls for end to Joey’s involvement
Timana Tahu’s meeting with the NRL’s Indigenous Council will take place amidst a call from Queensland superstar Greg Inglis for Andrew Johns’ involvement in rugby league to end.
The victim of the racial slur from Johns which caused Tahu to walk out of NSW’s State of Origin II camp, Inglis says there are no excuses for the former Test halfback.
Asked if Johns should continue to have a role in rugby league, Inglis told the Nine Network: “It’s definitely not a good attitude. I say no.
“There’s no excuses for racism in any sport, any code (or) any culture.”
Inglis has strongly backed the stand taken by Tahu, who will take the next step in his campaign to stamp out racism in rugby league with a meeting on Thursday with the William “Smiley” Johnstone-chaired Council.
“Some people are tucking their tails between their legs and running away from it, but you’ve got to take a stance and draw a line in the sand,” the Melbourne centre said.
“We’ve been copping it from the day our ancestors were born and it’s about time we stood up and I think Timana’s taking a stance right now.”
Tahu also has the blessing of one of the game’s multicultural icons, Hazem El Masri.
El Masri, the Muslim who came from war-torn Lebanon as a child and went on to become the game’s highest point-scorer, was reluctant to enter league’s racism discussion on Wednesday, but did back Tahu’s stance.
Asked if the game was moving forward despite the recent racism row, El Masri replied: “We are. Sometimes you have to nominate the problem and just stamp it out.
“I guess sometimes it’s good to do that and not beat around the bush so if there’s a problem let’s just point it out and sort it out and move on.
“As a human being we all make mistakes, it’s good sometimes just to put your hand up.
“This is pretty much the Australian culture, that you make a mistake, put your hand up, recognise your mistake, apologise and just move on.”
NRL chief executive David Gallop said he hoped Thursday’s meeting would be a step towards Tahu and Johns reconciling in a mediation session, the date of which is still to be set, with Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner Mick Gooda.
On a day the Women in League group named Parramatta’s Nathan Hindmarsh as their “favourite son”, the focus remained more on race issues than the involvement of women in the game.
Dual international Wendell Sailor said he had come close to taking a similar stand to Tahu in both league and rugby union.
But he said the example of indigenous players like Steve Renouf and Ricky Walford had taught him to deal with it differently.
“You just thought ‘toughen up and get on with it’,” he said.
“If you’ve got this colour skin it’s going to happen.
“I’ve got that personality where I can gloss over it and get on with life.
“Some people, it breaks you down and with ‘T’ (Tahu) it’s obviously breaking him down a bit.”© AAP 2013