Sharks great Paul Gallen says NRL shouldn’t ‘gag’ players after Cronulla forward Toby Rudolph has taken a formal warning over the comments made in a post-match interview.
Rudolf was asked on Fox League what he had planned for Sunday night after Cronulla defeated the Dragons in the first round.
“Probably around 1000 beers. Go to Northies [pub], try to shoot something. Anything will do, ”said Rudolf.
“No, honestly, it’s all about recovery these days. I’m going to go straight home, straight to the ice bath and be very, very calm.”
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Andrew Abdo, chief executive of the NRL, said Rudolf’s comment to “shoot something” was an inappropriate reference to women.
“I was very disappointed with Toby’s comments, they were inappropriate and shouldn’t have been said,” Abdo told AAP.
“We are going to send Toby a formal warning and I know the club will advise him that there is no rehearsal.”
However, the NRL’s decision against Rudolph angered Gallen, arguing that the NRL should not try to stifle the “harmless” character moments of the game’s stars.
“It goes beyond the mark,” Gallen told Wide World of Sports Radio on 2GB. “I think it’s sad. I think it’s sad that people are going to complain about what he said.
“You could tell he was joking. He actually said right away, ‘No, it’s about recovery, I’m going to recover for the next game.
“I can’t believe there have been any complaints about this, seriously ?! Where did Toby Rudolph go over the top? Only one guy (joking that he was going to get someone).
“The number of reporters who say, ‘We’re not shooting anything like this.’ Well, you get (finally) something like this guy and you can do it to him for that. We’re going to gag him basically.
“Now we have (a character in the game), we’re going to gag him. He hasn’t hurt anyone.”
Rudolf’s offhand comment couldn’t have come at a worse time; On the eve of March 4 for women, justice events were staged across Australia in response to rape allegations that engulfed the Federal Parliament.