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The curious case of Ryan Stig

Roar Rookie
4th November, 2013
3267 Reads

If you want to be confused and/or bemused you will never be disappointed by closely following rugby league, as the events surrounding (possibly former) Newcastle Knights player Ryan Stig over the past couple of weeks showed.

Often, a writer will pose questions in an article and then proceed to answer them. I can only do half that job here – to ask the questions.

I have no idea what the answers might be.

In particular:

I don’t know why Ryan Stig thought publishing his thoughts on gay marriage was a good idea.

I don’t know why the Newcastle Knights put out a statement saying the views of Ryan Stig didn’t reflect the views of the club and then didn’t put out a statement saying, only a couple of days later, that Stig was no longer with the club.

I don’t know why the NRL has a vilification policy and doesn’t think comments like Stig’s amount to vilification.

I don’t know how Satan has the time to get involved in this kind of stuff.

Perhaps you can enlighten me?


Anyway, by now, I’m sure you have all read Andrew Webster’s powerful article from last Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald.

It was, at least in part, inspired by Stig’s anti-gay marriage views expressed on Twitter a couple of weeks ago.

I support gay marriage. I respect Ryan Stig’s right to hold a different view. I think this matter all goes off the rails when Satan gets involved.

You see, in his original post, Stig doesn’t just say he is against gay marriage. He says it is part of the work Satan has done in “culture and society to remove the belief in a creator” and the marriage equality laws advocated by some “make covenants with unseen realms of the demonic”.

He goes on to give “aids” a run (which, if I understand it correctly, is much less discriminatory than Stig) but he does, on the plus side, indicate some of his friends are gay, if not his best ones.

Stig made his comments on Twitter on 23 October. Curiously, given the speed with which rugby league news typically moves, these comments didn’t make it into the mainstream press until almost a week later, even if Twitter was abuzz with them immediately.


Shortly after the mainstream coverage (not the actual comments from Stig), the Newcastle Knights released a statement saying “[the club] does not support the views of Ryan Stig”.

I don’t know if this means that the club supports gay marriage or doesn’t have a view on gay marriage but doesn’t think Satan is involved. It’s not clear from the statement.

I don’t recall (and couldn’t find) a statement from the NRL on the topic, but John Brady of the NRL did speak to the Sydney Star Observer (a newspaper that generally caters to the LGBTI community).

Brady was quoted as saying:

“[Stig’s statement] does not in our view amount to vilification albeit that it is entirely contrary to the position of the NRL and the vast majority of players in the game.”

The NRL’s code of conduct states that it binds all players to the sport’s Anti-Vilification Code which, in turn, states they must not:

“speak or otherwise act in a manner which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, colour, descent, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, sexuality, marital status, status as a parent, disability or HIV/AIDS status.”

Satan, let’s not forget, spoke through the serpent to Eve, causing her to offer the apple to Adam, seeing him commit the first sin and seeing them cast from the Garden of Eden. It was all downhill from there.


If this is the same Satan Stig sees behind homosexuality (like ‘Adolf’, ‘Satan’ is not a popular name) it’s hard for me to imagine the link between the two doesn’t amount to vilification.

As Andrew Webster posits, if similar comments were made in relation to women or persons of indigenous heritage or any other ethnic background, it’s hard to imagine that the NRL would not have come out (excuse the pun) more strongly.

I agree. Indeed, the NRL has imposed strong sanctions in racial vilification cases where words have been spoken only from one person to another (Paul Gallen and Bryan Fletcher, for example), whereas Stig’s comments were made publicly available to his Twitter followers (2,894 at time of writing this, probably less at the time of his post) and many, many more indirectly, given the degree to which the comments were retweeted and discussed.

Finally, NBN Newcastle reported on 1 November Stig would not be offered a new contract by the Knights due to his “ongoing injury issues”.

Stig, who played 13 NRL games in 2011 and had a handy step if I recall correctly, hasn’t played for two seasons due to an eye injury (I’ll resist the obvious here).

He was signed by Newcastle until 2013 and NRL contract years end on 31 October.

Given that was last week, as his comments received more coverage, it’s possible the timing of this announcement (though the Knights didn’t announce it, as far as I could tell – NBN reported it and, bizarrely Marathon Stadium tweeted it) is coincidence.

I note creditors of Nathan Tinkler are often coincidently paid the day after they speak to newspapers, so anything is possible.


I just wish someone would explain this all to me because, just as I don’t believe in Satan, I don’t believe in coincidences either.