Crusaders star Nemani Nadolo racially abused

CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 16:11 04/08/2014
Sydney Morning Herald

Winger Nemani Nadolo's superb season with the Crusaders has been soured by claims he was racially abused.

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The actions of a "stupid" lone drunkard who racially abused Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo was an anomaly that should not tarnish his great season, says coach Todd Blackadder.

"After all I've done to contribute to tis lovely city of christchurch to be called a UN FIT CHUBBY [N****] is disappointing [sic]," the Fijian-born Nadolo tweeted at 2.48am today.

Nadolo was at a central Christchurch bar last night with teammates when he was approached by a group of people who had been drinking. One of them then used the slur to Nadolo.

"He was obviously upset by it and no one should have to tolerate that," Blackadder said. "It's just disgraceful."

Nadolo went home upset and tweeted that he was "hurt" and "disappointed" by the incident.

"To say (that) you must be stupid or ignorant. It shouldn't reflect on everyone," Blackadder said.

He was impressed with how Nadolo handled it. Nadolo did not react or even tell his teammates, who did not hear the slur. If he had, the incident might have escalated, Blackadder said.

"It just shows what a great man he is. He has forgiven the guy in himself."

Blackadder said Nadolo did not plan on taking any further action.

"They played the final for all of us and for them to come home to this shouldn't tarnish an amazing season for Nemani."

Blackadder said he had never witnessed this type of racism despite former Blues player Ben Atiga saying he experienced something similar when he played in Christchurch.

"This is an anomaly," Blackadder said.

He said that it was regrettable such an action was getting coverage.

"These people that do this have no respect for themselves otherwise they would never say it."

Nadolo played in the Super Rugby grand final against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday night.

A Crusaders spokesperson said management was looking into what happened but was not ready to give any comment.

Racial harassment and the incitement of racial disharmony are unlawful under the Human Rights Act. The incitement of racial disharmony is an offence punishable by up to three months in prison or a fine by up to $7000.

Since Nadolo's tweet, people have given words of support through social media.

Former Auckland Blues player Ben Atiga said he was  he was disgusted but "not surprised" by the abuse.

"One of my first outings there was quite similar".

Sports show presenter Andrew Mulligan said Christchurch and Canterbury had some "truly awful fans".

"So bad. Just revolting."

Rugby league great Monty Betham said the comment represented the "blinded minority".

"New Zealand loves you. You're the man and started the Crusader resurgence this year."

Ria Hall said she was "so sorry this has happened".

"Disgusting behaviour. Kia kaha e hoa."

New Zealand Rugby Players' Association chief executive Rob Nichol told Fairfax Nadolo was meeting with Crusaders management about the incident.

"He's got good support right now," he said.

While the full background to the tweet had yet to be investigated, generally racial abuse was not a regular occurrence, he said.

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