Eight young men have been kicked out of an NRL match by police after allegedly racially abusing Indigenous player Brent Naden.
The spectators were escorted from Central Coast Stadium in Gosford during the Penrith Panthers and New Zealand Warriors match after allegedly taunting Naden from the sideline on Friday.
The 24-year-old winger, who scored the opening try for Penrith, is understood to have reported the alleged racial abuse to a sideline official.
Footage taken by Fox League showed two police officers confront the group of men sitting in the stands, before walking them up the stairs and out of the venue.
Eight young men have been kicked out of an NRL match by police after allegedly racially abusing Indigenous player Brent Naden
Sideline commentator Steve Roach drew attention to the incident after the group were booted from the ground at the end of the the first half.
‘Guys, there’s been a bit of racial abuse down here on the sideline,’ Roach said.
‘A couple of fans have been giving it to Brent Naden, they’ve been escorted out of the ground.’
Commentators Matt Russell and Braith Anasta agreed there should be no time for racial abuse in the NRL.
‘Great to hear that they have been quickly dispatched, that might be one of the stories out of this game – why on earth someone would do that. Let’s hope they’ve been identified,’ Russell said.
Anasta added: ‘That’s disgusting, it’s crazy, Get them out and don’t let them back in ever.’
Brent Naden (pictured) thanks the crowd after winning 18-12 on Friday evening in Gosford
Brent Naden (right) is pictured with Chris Randall of the Newcastle Knights
The alleged culprits are believed to be aged in their early 20s and some of them wore Warriors jerseys for the clash.
Friday marked history for the Panthers as it was the first time in the club’s history they have won nine games in a row.
But their 18-12 victory was sadly overshadowed by the alleged racial abuse.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said alleged incident affected the 24-year-old more than he expected it to, Fox Sports reported.
‘Brent’s OK. He said its not the first time he’s heard that in his life, but not in this forum [at a stadium],’ he said.
‘I think it happened more than once. I don’t really know the exact details and there’ll need to be some sort of investigation after that our main objective is making sure Brent is all right.
‘He’s OK, it definitely affected him, he said he was surprised that he was affected by it.’
NRL acting CEO Andrew Abdo said the governing body took the matter extremely seriously as racism and vilification is not tolerated by the league.
‘Bringing communities and cultures together is part of rugby league. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and taking a leadership role in driving social change,’ he said.
The spectators were escorted from Central Coast Stadium in Gosford during the Penrith Panthers and New Zealand Warriors match after allegedly taunting Naden from the sideline on Friday
Naden, who scored the opening try for Penrith, is understood to have reported the alleged racial abuse to a sideline official
‘Any fan found to have racially abused a player or another fan will not be welcome at our games.
‘We have shown in the past that we will take the strongest possible action to ensure fans guilty of racial abuse are banned from attending the Telstra Premiership.’
Mr Abdo said the NRL will work closely with NSW Police, stadium authorities and the clubs to determine the facts and ‘take decisive action against anyone guilty of racial abuse’.
‘Later tonight, I will call any player involved to ensure they are receiving the support they need. We will always stand by our players,’ he said.
Warriors CEO Cameron George said his club did not condone racial remarks to anyone playing rugby league or in general.
NRL fans took to Twitter to slam the alleged racial abuse and said the group should be banned from attending live games for life
NRL fans took to Twitter to slam the alleged racial abuse and said the group should be banned from attending live games for life.
‘Absolutely disgusting. Hope they are banned for life and charged. Chin up Naden. Brilliant footballer,’ one person tweeted.
‘Let’s hope the names of those people who racially abused Brent Naden are passed onto the NRL so that all eight are banned from attending NRL games for the forseeable future,’ another wrote.
‘Really proud of Brent Naden for standing up for himself and reporting that intolerable bulls***. Racism needs to be called out every time,’ a third added.
A fourth said: ‘Absolutely disgusting from those ‘fans’ who were caught racially abusing Naden. Great work identifying and removing them. Here’s hoping don’t let them off lightly.’
Naden and Josh Mansour celebrate after Dylan Edwards scored a try during Friday’s match