/ 12 March 2024

Racism kicked to the kerb

Image source: Unsplash
Image source: Unsplash

NRL player Spencer Leniu has copped an 8-week ban for a mid-match racial slur against the Bronco’s Ezra Mam. Leniu, who plays for the Sydney Roosters, pleaded guilty to calling Mam, a Torres-Strait Islander, a “monkey” during the NRL’s high-profile season opener in Las Vegas earlier this month. In a statement, Mam said he was “so angry” after the slur, he couldn’t focus on the game. Leniu, who has a Samoan background, has since apologised for the taunt, saying it was a “spur of the moment” comment and he “had no idea what that word meant to Ezra and to all Indigenous people in the game”. At a judiciary hearing last night, the 23yo’s lawyers said he wasn’t “a racist” and that his case was a “turning point in the use of language” in the sport. As for Leniu, he said he’s glad Mam brought the issue up. “There is no room for racism in this game,” he said. 

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