FINE OR NOT? $10,000 FOR ‘FAGGOT’ SLUR


The Australian Rugby Union has been quick to slap Waratahs forward Jacques Potgieter with a $10,000 fine for a homophobic slur he used in his side’s clash with the Brumbies on Sunday.

Potgieter faces an additional fine of $10,000 if he errs again and will also be required to undergo educational and awareness training.

The South African import, 28, has apologised for using the derogatory term “faggot” against a Brumbies player.

I’m very sorry for any offence caused by what I said on the field during a heated encounter,” Potgieter said.

It was an off-hand remark made without thought for the hurt it could cause to those around me.”

During the match, Brumbies vice-captain David Pocock twice informed referee Craig Joubert of gay slurs.

Potgieter’s penalty relates to a breach of the ARU Code of Conduct, which prohibits homophobic or racist comments.

The Brumbies alerted SANZAR to the incident, but the governing body then referred the matter to the ARU.

Anti-homophobia in sports campaigner Andrew Purchas, who was president of last year’s Bingham Cup international gay rugby tournament in Sydney, said the position taken by Pocock “speaks volumes about the guy”.

Purchas, who was also instrumental in the Anti-Homophobia and Inclusion Framework being signed by Australian sporting bodies, labelled as “unfortunate” the criticism Pocock received.

It’s unfortunate, some of the social media commentary … where (Pocock) has been told to shut up and play football,” Purchas said, adding that what gets lost is “the potential damage these type of comments make” as well as “the influence that players have more broadly and the role they can play in making society a better place”.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said: “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.”

But the question remains: Does the punishment fit the crime?

After all, cricket captains around the world are not only fined a percentage of match fees but also suspended from games for slow over rates.

Potgeiter has not been suspended and is expected to play this Saturday against the Blues in Sydney.

Let us know what you think.