Everyone involved in this Fonua-Blake debacle needs to go for a skate. The player for his admitted abuse and the PR fluffers for their inept mis-truths. AFB's behaviour was simply reprehensible.
Three things are sacrosanct in full contact sport - eyes, cherries and officials. To abuse the referee on-field was bad enough, to double-down in the players tunnel inexcusable. As was the attempted cover-up by the Manly club. Working in this business for 25 years has sharply honed my BS meter.
I utterly despise the PR fluff'n'guff, the subterfuge, the attempted manipulation, the blatant lies that are told in & around sport, all sport, to protect players from the consequences of their own aberrant behaviour.
Be it idiotic, criminal, vile, baseless, violent or tasteless there's a well-established, well-oiled highly-efficient machine that deliberately tries to muddy the facts and present the perpetrator as the most clean-living God-fearing calm and well-balanced individual since the birth of Jesus Himself. And it is all so shameless and insincere as perfectly demonstrated by the Manly club in the immediate aftermath of Fonua-Blake's outburst.
His derogatory use of the terms "retard" and "spastic" can be left for others to debate. The fact he and club captain Cherry-Evans still maintain they "didn't understand what the words mean" is as farcical as Manly conducting an in-house explain all interview with AFB when the news of his second outburst at the referee was leaked.
How gutless that the club protects him with another pre-prepared and carefully practised set of questions to contritely, insincerely answer. Because that's what all this has been. The facts are the player abused the ref, got angry and aggressive on the pitch then went at him again in the tunnel.
Shame on you PR faffers and shame on all you NRL collaborators. You're all as guilty as the player, he said the words, you lot did the deeds. And as for parading Fonua-Blake at a school for disadvantaged kids, just another pap attempt to paint him as someone he's not. There's only one appropriate punishment for everyone involved. Make them go ref a club game. Or five.