Candice Warner caught in NRL storm over comments defending Latrell Mitchell interview

The South Sydney fullback has copped a raft of backlash over the expletive-laden interview.

Candice Warner has found herself in the eye of the storm after defending Latrell Mitchell and his expletive-laden post-match interview. Mitchell has drawn more unwanted headlines after dropping the F-bomb a number of times in an interview with Triple M radio after the Rabbitohs' loss to Brisbane on Thursday night.

It's not uncommon for athletes to swear in the heat of the moment or after a game, but the majority of the time it's an accident and they're immediately apologetic. In contrast, Mitchell acknowledged that he was swearing and said he didn't care.

Candice Warner and Latrell Mitchell on Triple M radio.
Candice Warner thinks the criticism of Latrell Mitchell has gone too far. Image: Triple M

When asked about the loss he said: “It’s alright mate, honestly f**k … It was s**t. In the first bit, just a hard game f**k, we showed what we were about. Honestly, they’re (Brisbane) big boys, they’re competitors.

"No wonder why they come runner up last year so f**k, they’re building on that. I don’t care if I’m swearing boys, honestly.”

Anthony Maroon labels Latrell Mitchell a 'disgrace'

Mitchell dropped another F-bomb after being asked about scoring his 100th try, which seemed to be the final straw for producers and the interview was wrapped up swiftly. NRL boss Andrew Abdo has since moved to remind players of their responsibilities to be respectful while conducting media commitments, and the league isn't expected to sanction Mitchell.

Former players Ryan Girdler and Ben Te'o both criticised the Rabbitohs fullback on Saturday, but the strongest reaction came from veteran caller Anthony Maroon. The Souths supporter labelled Mitchell a 'disgrace' on Triple M on Saturday, saying: "I have been a Souths member for decades and decades (and) Souths to me is everything. And Latrell Mitchell's behaviour - mate, if you happen to be listening, you're an absolute disgrace.

"You are an embarrassment to our jumper and the tradition and the people it represents. To get on Triple M live on air and drop the F-bomb half a dozen times…I mean, honestly, I cannot fathom what is going on in your head. And if any of the hierarchy at our club is listening, for God's sake, pull this bloke into line."

Anthony Maroon on Triple M radio.
Veteran NRL commentator Anthony Maroon was highly critical of Latrell Mitchell. Image: Triple M

Candice Warner launches defence of Latrell Mitchell

There was another fiery debate on Triple M just 24 hours before Maroon's comments, with Candice Warner - wife of Aussie cricket star David - moving to defend Mitchell. Candice suggested the criticism being directed at Mitchell wouldn't have been as strong if it were any other player making the comments, and the reaction was only so strong because Mitchell is a lightning rod for backlash.

Candice listed a number of high-profile athletes - including Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant and Patrick Mahomes - who have sworn on TV or radio in the past. But co-host Richard Freedman said it was the intentional manner in which Mitchell repeatedly swore that has caused the backlash.

"Latrell Mitchell swore repeatedly on air - when he knew he was on air - and then said 'I don't care' and didn't apologise for it," Freedman said. Candice fired back that Ben Dobbin, who was interviewing Mitchell, should have stepped in and told him he shouldn't be swearing so much. While some listeners agreed with Candice, the majority felt she was in the wrong and should have been more critical of Mitchell.

Former NRL players Ryan Girdler and Ben Te'o weigh in

Discussing the situation on Saturday, Penrith Panthers great Girdler said: "It just felt unnecessary to me. The media are stakeholders in our game. If my two little kids, after watching their heroes play, have to go through that and ask me questions about it, it puts parents in an uncomfortable situation.

"It was just unnecessary language and I think Latrell is better than that. He is a leader in our game and I think someone needs to pull him into line over that."

Te'o, who formerly played for Brisbane and Souths, said: "He always talks about being a role model, doesn't he? I think it's important that he probably holds himself to a higher standard.

"We understand that sometimes we're caught up in emotion and sometimes we swear and there's a fair bit of swearing that goes on on the footy field. But once you leave and you're doing an interview - whether that be on TV or radio - I think it's important that you step into your professional role."