Nemani Nadolo: Racist slur won't ruin it
Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo wants to move on from being racially abused in a Christchurch bar.
Nadolo, who featured in the team's grand final loss to the Waratahs in Sydney, was with team-mates when the incident took place.
"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, 26, tweeted at 2.48am yesterday. The revelations prompted a strong reaction, with sports personalities lending their support to Nadolo on social media.
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."
Sports show presenter Andrew Mulligan said Christchurch and Canterbury had some "truly awful fans".
"So bad. Just revolting."
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said the actions of a "stupid" lone drunkard should not tarnish Nadolo's great season.
Blackadder said he was impressed with how Nadolo handled the abuse. He did not react or tell his team-mates, 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.
"To say [that] you must be stupid or ignorant. It shouldn't reflect on everyone."
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 thanked everyone for their support.
"Whatever has been said is said. I'm just blessed to be here. Not gonna let one person ruin it."
Former Crusaders and Hurricanes hooker Tone Kopelani, who is Samoan, said the incident was "pretty low".
He played with Nadolo in France and was "disappointed for him".
Kopelani had never experienced racist comments, but other Maori or Pacific Island teammates had been subjected to similar "sad" slurs from the public in the past, he said.
"He's brought a lot of excitement to the Crusaders. Hopefully it won't affect him signing on for another couple of years," Kopelani said.
Former All Black captain Wayne "Buck" Shelford said racism still happened on and off the field, but it was "nothing compared to our day".
"I've been called a Black C," he said. "You very rarely hear of racial abuse nowadays. Sometimes they are just trying to niggle you, to make you bite."
Shelford said society had become "a bit precious" about what people said.
Players needed to be able to take the accolades when they won, and "laugh off" abuse when they lost.
Monday Room general manager Jeremy Hanna said there were several Crusaders players at the bar on Sunday night but he could not confirm in Nadolo was part of that group.
However, if the "disgusting" incident had occurred at his bar he would be "horrified".
"Good on Crusader Nemani Nadolo for calling out racist abuse he's faced: the rest of us need to back our sportsmen, women and kids by condemning racism when and where we see it."
Racial harassment and the incitement of racial disharmony are unlawful under the Human Rights Act. The incitement of racial disharmony can be punished by up to three months' jail or a fine of up to $7000.
After all I've done to contribute to tis lovely city of christchurch to be called a UN FIT CHUBBY NIGGA is disappointing. #hurtful.
TWEETS OF SUPPORT
@nemani_nadolo Christchurch and Canterbury have some truly awful fans. So bad. Just revolting.
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