NRL investigates James Tedesco over alleged 'Squid Game' slur

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James Tedesco is accused of directing a racial slur at a woman in Sydney last week. Pic: Getty
James Tedesco is accused of directing a racial slur at a woman in Sydney last week. Pic: Getty

James Tedesco will be investigated by the NRL's integrity unit after a woman claimed he made a racial slur against her in Sydney last week.

The NRL formally received a complaint from 20-year-old Tiffany Trinh on Sunday afternoon, following a social media post about Tedesco late last week.

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Ms Trinh - who is from a Vietnamese background - claims Tedesco made a "joke about her race" after saying "Squid Game" when he walked past her in Bondi on Thursday.

Tedesco is expected to deny the claims, and has told the Sydney Roosters he was simply talking about Netflix's popular South Korean series when the woman overheard him.

In a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, Ms Trinh claims she has "no doubt" the comment came from Tedesco and was meant to be a slur about her race.

The report claims that when Ms Trinh's friend called out Tedesco over the remark that he was allegedly heard saying: "Do you know who I am?"

“It was a group of about ten footy boys, and I was pretty intimidated. It felt pretty bad being laughed at,” Trinh said. 

Pictured here, James Tedesco in action for the Roosters in an NRL match in 2021.
The Roosters say they've thoroughly investigated the alleged incident involving captain James Tedesco. Pic: Getty

“A 20-year-old tiny girl, waiting for a lift home and you have a bunch of guys come up to you and laugh at you for being Asian.

“It was definitely him, no doubt, and the comment was undeniably directed at me, the intent was clear.”

The woman's sister then urged her sibling to make a formal complaint after addressing Tedesco in a social media post.

"Last night you felt compelled to say "squid game" at my sister when you walked past her outside of Beach Road in Bondi," Katherine Trinh wrote on Instagram, tagging Tedesco in the post.

"This may seem like a joke to you, but these are the micro-aggressions that keep racism alive in Australia.

"My dad used to tell stories of the racism he faced when he first moved here 30 years ago, my sisters and I can all recount racism we suffered throughout school.

"And now one of them can remember when an entitled footy player was racist to her just last night."

Roosters chief executive Joe Kelly said the club became aware of the allegation after the social media post from Trinh’s sister on Friday.

However, the club says it has completed its own investigation into the matter and concluded that it was a misunderstanding.

“After we found out about the Instagram post we thoroughly investigated the matter,” Kelly said.

“There was absolutely no interaction between James Tedesco with this group of people. We categorically deny that anything untoward occurred.”

Issues piling up for NRL's integrity unit

It adds to a long list of matters for the NRL's integrity unit to consider in their off-season.

Sam Burgess' situation is one of those, with the NRL able to ramp up their investigation into claims last year that alleged drug use and domestic violence behaviour had been covered up by South Sydney.

The Rabbitohs strongly denied the claims by Burgess' ex-partner Phoebe, while the NRL can now speak to witnesses after a police investigation into Burgess was last week dropped.

Seen here, Sam Burgess with his ex-wife Phoebe at a function.
The NRL's integrity unit is investigating claims made about Sam Burgess from his ex-wife Phoebe. Pic: Getty

An outcome is expected in the next few weeks on that matter, as well as a possible suspension for Burgess' brother George after he pleaded guilty to a road rage incident.

George's charge came just weeks after joining St George Illawarra.

The NRL's football department reviews are also ongoing this week, with no major alterations expected to on-field rules after two seasons of significant change.

Judiciary and off-field matters will also be considered, with clubs having submitted their ideas to changes to the system.

Again there is unlikely to be a major upheaval, but some clubs have suggested alterations to the loading system which came back to hurt the likes of Latrell Mitchell and Victor Radley in 2021.

The NRL made a point to defend the loading system during the year, pointing out that it follows a similar process to criminal courts.

Next season's draw is set to be released as soon as the end of next week.

with AAP

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