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Australian rugby player fined $20,000 for homophobic abuse

By Nick Bond


There has been swift action after Australian rugby player – and outspoken LGBT ally – David Pocock accused a rival player of making homophobic remarks during a game in Sydney over the weekend.

In the final 15 minutes of the game, vice captain Pocock (pictured, right) – a strong supporter of marriage equality in Australia – approached referee Craig Joubert twice to highlight slurs he said came from New South Wales Waratahs back rower Jacques Potgieter.

“As players, we’ve said the Brumbies aren’t going to tolerate any homophobic slurs, I just made that clear to the referee that it’s unacceptable,” Pocock said. “You can be the toughest man in the world, but it’s got nothing to do with using that sort of language.”

Joubert made the rival team’s captain Michael Hooper aware, and was heard telling him: “I’m getting some pretty aggressive comments coming from your guys – that there are homophobic slurs [being made].”

After promising to look into the incident, the Australian Rugby Union announced they were fining Potgieter $20,000 (with $10,000 suspended), saying that the player had “admitted making comments contrary to the Australian Rugby Union’s Inclusion Policy”.

He will also be required to undergo additional education and awareness training.

“We take the issue of homophobia in sport seriously and want to provide a positive environment for everyone involved in Rugby. Comments of this nature cannot be tolerated,” said Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver.

“Our Inclusion Policy reinforces Australian Rugby’s commitment to ensure every individual, whether they’re players, supporters, coaches or administrators, feel safe, welcome and included regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

“I’d like to stress again that there is absolutely no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words on and off the field must reflect that.”