Sharks and NSW Blues captain Paul Gallen has been fined $50,000 after lashing out against the NRL over the sacking of his club’s CEO, Steve Noyce in the wake of the ASADA doping scandal.
Gallen was on holidays in Hawaii last week when he posted on Twitter that “Steve Noice (sic) actually cared about players from cronulla’s feelings. Couldn’t say that about any other c— from Nrl”.
The tweet was deleted and the Blues captain turned to social media to express his remorse the following day, saying “I would like to apologise to anyone I offended in my tweet yesterday and to anyone who took offence to the language I used. I realise I’m in the position I’m in. This was unacceptable.’’
The NRL thought so too, with chief executive Dave Smith saying the fact that he captains the State of Origin team “aggravated” the situation.
“The tweet on social media was offensive and a clear breach of the Code of Conduct,”he said.
A $50,000 fine is the maximum for a breach of the code and has the support of the Cronulla Sharks.
Gallen has been ruled out of selection for the Kangaroos in 2015 unless he successfully completes a leader’s accountability course.
Smith said the NRL would also discuss the NSW captaincy with the NSWRL, which is responsible for Origin selection.
“Origin is one of our flagship properties and we do not want it to be undermined in any way,” he said.
Sharks chairman Damian Keogh said the club supported the sanctions imposed.
“The last two years have been a difficult period for the Sharks and our focus is on performing strongly on and off the field in 2015,” he said. “So it is disappointing to have the club involved in this sort of issue as we prepare for next season.”
Gallen has seven days to respond to the NRL’s breach notice and plead any mitigating factors.
This latest punishment comes just a month away from the November 21 end to ASADA’s ban on Gallen playing following its investigation into Cronulla’s supplement program.
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