Brisbane Broncos forward Payne Haas has spoken out after being whacked with the heaviest fine possible by the NRL, following his ugly altercation with police last month.
The NRL has imposed a three-game ban and a $50,000 fine on Haas, who has apologised for his clash with NSW police in Tweed Heads last month.
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The NSW and Australian representative avoided a conviction and was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to charges of intimidating police and offensive language in Tweed Heads Local Court on Thursday.
Haas later issued a public apology for his abusive rant at two police officers after being asked for his ID late on the night of January 16 in the northern NSW town.
The 21-year-old said he was committed to learning from the incident and would be a "better person" in the future.
On Monday, the NRL issued Haas with a breach notice following an integrity unit investigation into the incident, proposing the fine and ban.
Haas spoke to reporters on Monday after learning of the NRL's punishment and admitted that he brought shame to his family.
"It is hard but I just have to learn from this and move forward," Haas said.
A police report revealed to court claimed that Haas addressed one of the female officers during the Tweed Heads altercation and said: “Why you looking at me like that? Cause you’re a woman? Cause you’re a woman and you think that I won’t touch ya?”
Haas said the regrettable incident does not paint a true reflection of his character.
"It's a mistake I truly regret. I've got a lot of love for women, they deserve their respect and that's the not how you should be treating women, especially how I handled that," he added.
Broncos coach Kevin Walters told reporters on Monday that while Haas' absence for the first three rounds of the NRL represent a big blow for the club, his primary focus is with the player.
"My main concern is Payne's welfare, I fully support the NRL and its stance against bad behaviour," Walters said.
"He's owned his mistake, he knows he made an error. So now it's about getting around Payne, supporting him, supporting the NRL in their stance against bad behaviour and we'll just get on with things."
Haas to undergo education program
Walters denies that the Haas incident represents a wider issue for the Broncos and their players.
"We don't have a behavioural issue here. Payne is great young fella, he's only 21 years of age and we all make mistakes, and this was a big one from Payne and he's paying a big price."
The financial penalty is the highest fine allowed for a player and NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said it showed what a dim view the organisation took of Haas's actions.
"Payne's conduct was unacceptable," Abdo said.
"There are no excuses for any form of abuse towards our police force.
"Any player who intimidates police will be dealt with severely."
As well as his fine and suspension, Haas will have to complete an appropriate education program and community service as directed by the NRL.
"It’s important our sanctions are two-fold – they must act as a deterrent but also have an element of education and rehabilitation so players who are in trouble can learn from their mistakes and develop into better young men," Abdo added.
The suspension means Haas will miss Brisbane's season opener against Parramatta on March 12 as well as the following matches against Gold Coast and Canterbury.
It is not the first time the forward has been in hot water with the integrity unit.
He was fined $20,000 and suspended for the opening four rounds of the 2019 season for failing to comply with an investigation over a matter involving members of his family.
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