New Zealand Warriors winger Marcelo Montoya has been given a four-match suspension by the NRL judiciary after pleading guilty to making a homophobic slur.
He made the comment to North Queensland winger Kyle Feldt during the Warriors’ 25-24 win over the Cowboys last Friday.
The incident happened after Montoya was penalised for a high tackle on Peta Hiku during the match. Feldt was down in back play.
The hearing lasted for 90 minutes. During which, Montoya apologised for the language he had used to Feldt, and vowed never to use a slur like that again. As a result, the tribunal opted for a more lenient punishment.
During the hearing, Montoya said: “I acknowledge and accept that the comment I made on Friday night is completely unacceptable. If you know the person I am you would know this is completely out of character. I am fully remorseful for my actions.
“In saying all of this I would like to apologise to Kyle Feldt, to the NRL and to the gay community, and anyone else that I have offended, as I know and respect the work that the NRL has done to ensure inclusiveness and diversity within the NRL community.”
Montoya made a poor mistake, says NRL chief
Following the hearing, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo called the punishment a reminder to players that language of that kind will not be tolerated.
However, he also praised Montoya for taking responsibility for his actions. He said Montoya had made a poor mistake and will learn from the experience.
He told nrl.com: “The homophobic language used in Friday night’s game between the Warriors and the Cowboys was unacceptable. It will not be tolerated.
“I commend the Match Review Committee for referring the matter to the Judiciary and I support a suspension being imposed.
“I’d like to acknowledge Marcelo Montoya for accepting responsibility for his actions and his genuine remorse. Marcelo made a poor mistake and he will learn from this experience. This is a reminder to all players that the game will not tolerate such conduct.”
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