Canterbury club rugby player Bronson Munro has been banned from the game for 40 weeks after racially abusing an opponent during a recent game between his club side Waihora and Southbridge last month.
Munro, a Canterbury Maori, was hit with the hefty ban after allegedly calling Southbridge player Peni Manumanuniliwa a ‘black c***’ after an apparent high tackle on Munro by Manumanuniliwa.
After the game Southbridge Rugby Football Club lodged a complaint against Munro with the Canterbury Metropolitan judicial committee. According to local news outlet NZ Herald, the committee returned a guilty verdict against Munro, stating the player was found to be responsible for:
“acts or statements that are discriminatory by reason of religion, race, sex or national or ethnic origin”
Canterbury rugby’s general manager, Tim Gilkison, said the suspension was at the higher end of the scale when it came to the sanctions available to the committee.
In a lengthy statement after the verdict, Gilkison was quick to condemn acts of racism within the game.
“This sort of racial abuse is simply unacceptable, either in rugby or in society in general.”
“While we do not usually release findings of the judicial committee, in light of public and media speculation about this incident, we have decided to so in this case. We also hope it serves as a timely reminder to others that we will simply not condone any form of racism in rugby.”
The length of the ban imposed on Munro leaves rugby professionals playing in New Zealand in no doubt that racism will not be tolerated.
The example taken by Canterbury rugby should be an example not only to other rugby unions and clubs around the world.
It might also be said that other sports, in particular football, should sit up and take notice, and perhaps even follow the example shown here.