NRL players under fire over 'forbidden' act amid Spencer Leniu and Ezra Mam storm

Latrell Mitchell and Nicho Hynes have had their say amid the controversy.

The NRL is being urged to 'muzzle' players from commenting on the Spencer Leniu and Ezra Mam situation to prevent the judiciary being prejudiced. Leniu won't front the judiciary until next Tuesday after the completion of the remainder of round one games, but the Roosters prop has admitted to calling Mam a 'monkey' during the Broncos and Roosters clash in Las Vegas last weekend.

Broncos coach Kevin Walters and a number of NRL players have come out in support of Mam, but some of the comments may have contravened judiciary rules considering Leniu hasn't had his hearing yet. Speaking on NRL 360 on Tuesday night, journalist Brent Read revealed that Leniu's manager had contacted the NRL with a plea to order players not to weigh in.

Latrell Mitchell, Spencer Leniu and Nicho Hynes.
Latrell Mitchell (L) and Nicho Hynes (R) are among a number of NRL players to comment on the Spencer Leniu (centre) situation. Image: Getty

“Players shouldn’t be commenting on or suggesting he is guilty or saying he should be suspended for half the season,” Read said. “I think that goes too far. I don’t mind them coming out and supporting Ezra Mam. I have no issue with that. They are quite within their rights.

“I spoke to Spencer’s manager and he is worried that he won’t get a fair hearing now because of all the talk of him getting 12 week suspensions. He said, the NRL and the players union need to come out and muzzle the players and tell them to stop talking about it.”

NRL players called out for commenting on Spencer Leniu case

Latrell Mitchell has been particularly vocal in his support for Mam, but many were unimpressed by a social media comment in relation to what suspension Leniu should receive. Responding to a post with a quote from Andrew Voss suggesting Leniu could be suspended for half of the season if found guilty, Mitchell wrote: "And some...”


Nicho Hynes, while stressing that Leniu hadn't had his day at the judiciary, said the NRL should treat the incident as a "line in the sand" moment to "make sure this doesn't happen again". Paul Kent took exception to players commenting on the case, pointing out that they've actually broken judiciary rules.

“The interesting thing about this is Spencer Leniu has spoken to a number of people throughout this and he has not denied it," Kent said on NRL 360. “Secondly, a lot of players have jumped onto their social media accounts and I think they need to learn to shut up.

“Coaches and players are not allowed to talk about any other incidents that are before the judiciary in any other aspect of the game. And with something as inflammatory as this, while no one wants to condone what he said, by the same token Leniu is entitled to have his say. He hasn’t even put in a decision whether he is going to plead guilty or not guilty yet. Yet people are quick to jump onto their social media and say he should get a heavy punishment.

Spencer Leniu, pictured here during the Broncos and Roosters clash.
Brisbane players clash with Spencer Leniu during the Roosters and Broncos clash. (Getty Images)

“It is one thing to support Ezra Mam and it is another thing to condemn Spencer Leniu. They are two different things and there are people calling out for Leniu to get all sorts of punishments at the moment and this is a guy who hasn’t put in any decision. If this was a game-orientated incident like a high shot or a crusher tackle or something like that, they are forbidden to make comment."

Braith Anasta agreed, saying: “There is a judicial system in the NRL for that reason. You have a hearing and then they come to a result. Even if it is a high shot, racism whatever it is.”

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