THE fact that administrators in our two major football codes cannot remember the last time they encountered racial or homophobic slurs in the course of their work doesn’t mean vilification is non existent in country sport but it does indicate our sporting bodies have made enormous progress in this area in recent years.
The experience of Group 10 rugby league and Central West Rugby Union administrators accords with the impressions of referees and others on the front line who have regular dealings with the Central Western Daily.
The general consensus is that on-field abuse of a racial or homophobic nature is a rare thing in our local competitions.
While all first grade Group 10 games and many rugby union games are video taped, officials do not have the benefit of referees’ on-field microphones to record the sort of comments which landed Wests Tigers under 20s star Mitchell Moses in very hot water last week.
Moses was heard and recorded using homophobic and particularly foul language to abuse a Queensland opponent.
His subsequent suspension sent a very clear message to NRL players, and their supporters, that certain behaviour and attitudes will not be tolerated.
In the central west the message is no different.
While officials are not so well equipped to capture every incident, players should be under no illusions about the consequences if they should be caught by match officials.
Club supporters and parents of juniors who are the future of all our sporting codes, should be reassured that the values of our sporting clubs include respect for all players, regardless of their ethnic background or sexual orientation.
Those playing the game, or watching it from the sidelines, should appreciate that in the heat of competition tempers will flare and things will be said which will later be regretted but there will be no tolerance shown to those who resort to vilification of any kind.