NRL gender adviser slammed over star’s vile cop rant
The NRL has distanced itself from controversial comments by its so-called gender adviser in support of Brisbane Broncos Test prop Payne Haas who escaped conviction following a drunken outburst against police.
Gender adviser Dr Catharine Lumby sparked anger today after calling for cultural understanding and not a suspension for Haas after his expletive-riddled showdown with police in January.
Court documents revealed the Broncos star who earns $500,000-a-season told a female officer:
"Cause you're a woman you think I won't touch ya'."
Haas also told the police that he would "take youse all on myself" and dared them to taser him.
NRL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Abdo today claimed Dr Lumby has never been employed in an official capacity by the league.
"We've never had this interesting title or interesting role. We've never had a Chief Gender Adviser," Mr Abdo told 2GB's Ben Fordham.
"She's not employed by the NRL, and she's certainly not a spokesman for the NRL … she has provided advisory work to us in the past."
Mr Abdo said Ms Lumby's comments had come "in a personal capacity." He stopped short of confirming she would be dismissed but said the NRL was "reviewing" changes to welfare and education advisory.
" (Ms Lumby's) committee hasn't met for six months … her views are purely expressing her personal capacity on this matter," Mr Abdo said.
"We'll need to think very carefully about what we want to do in the welfare and education space."
Mr Abdo also revealed the NRL will be "taking the appropriate action" in disciplining Haas.
"There's no excuse for Payne's conduct. It's fair to say he'll be facing sanctions."
Dr Lumby told The Daily Telegraph she does not believe a match suspension is warranted.
"No I don't," Ms Lumby said.
"Not on the court account. And I think it is clear that the police accepted the apology.
"I think that a good behaviour bond is totally appropriate because clearly he showed genuine remorse and of his own volition apologised to the police.
"What was said was clearly out of character and I believe in second chances.
"I think (being) taken to court and having to confront his behaviour and to apologise is sanction enough."
Ms Lumby said cultural understanding was also important.
"While it is clear I am not suggesting that the majority of police are racist, it is true that people from some cultural backgrounds have sometimes had a history of distrust of the police which involves members of their family and their community and it can influence the way that they respond to police authority.
"I am certainly not suggesting that this was racially motivated in any way, or that the majority of police in Australia are racist.
"But there is a history in some communities of having multiple adverse encounters with police and they may respond different to police authority than someone from an Anglo background. I do think that we need to be aware of that.
"The guy obviously felt really, really bad about it. I reckon nothing further should happen and I just applaud him for showing genuine remorse and apologising."
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and Police Minister David Elliott both moved to slam the remarks on Friday morning.
"I think it's a shocker of a comment," Comm Fuller said before warnings would-be offenders they "will be punished" if they break the law, regardless of their background.
"We won't be worried about culture, we won't be worried about gender," he said.
Mr Elliott called Haas' behaviour a "terrible example" and said the NRL's decision not to punish him further was "an insult" to the state's police force.
"The decision by the NRL not to suspend, or indeed expel, Payne Haas from their ranks after his verbal assault and threatening behaviour against both male and female police officers sets a terrible example for our youth," Mr Elliot wrote.
"And is an insult to the 17,000 NSW Police Officers who have been to hell and back for the people of NSW over the last 18 months."
Mr Elliott called the NRL's decision "breathtaking hypocrisy" and warned it could "seriously damage" relations between the league and the force.
"Given the high expectations placed on NRL players, this breathtaking hypocrisy from certain Rugby League Administrators has the potential to seriously damage the century old relationship between the police and the League," Mr Elliott wrote.
"I seriously hope the NRL reverses this injustice before permanent damage is done. It's a matter of mutual respect."
It's not the first time Dr Lumby has been embroiled in controversy in her role after two Canterbury Bulldogs players were embroiled in a schoolgirl sex scandal on the mid-north coast last year.
"This is not a sex scandal, this is a workplace conduct issue", she said at the time.
"they have done nothing criminal as far as we know".
"Women over the age of consent are allowed to have sex, and plenty of them do," Dr Lumby told The Daily Telegraph.
Originally published as NRL gender adviser slammed over star's vile cop rant