Corey Norman’s teammates have raised concerns over the NRL’s decision to punish the Dragons star for his involvement in a street brawl, labelling the decision by the governing body as “scary”.
Norman was handed a $20,000 fine and a two-match suspension by the NRL after video footage emerged of him and former NRL player James Segeyaro trading punches with several men on the streets on Cronulla in January.
Norman alleged the brawl was sparked after Segeyaro was racially abused by the group. The pair also alleged a man threatened to pull out a knife, but the NRL investigation could find no evidence of a weapon being involved.
Norman appealed his penalty and in a meeting with NRL boss Andrew Abdo, the Dragons playmaker explained he only became involved in the brawl as a matter of self-defence. That excuse was not enough for Abdo to scrap the sanction, however, with the NRL boss saying a street fight was not the “only option” available to Norman at the time.
“We have been clear and consistent that provocation is not an excuse to engage in any form of violence. Corey is a high-profile player who was involved in a street fight, we expect better decision making from him,” Abdo said in a statement.
Norman’s sanction was halved to a $10,000 fine and a one-game suspension, but Dragons players were still far from impressed with the NRL saying Norman should have walked away from the confrontation.
On Monday, Tariq Sims raised his concerns with the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age over the decision, labelling the precedent set as “scary”.
“It’s a slippery slope,” he said. “One day they [a player] might actually have to take that punch to try and avoid it and find themselves in more trouble.”
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