Paul Gallen and Peter FitzSimons have clashed on air in a heated debate about Addin Fonua-Blake’s derogatory remarks scandal.
Manly front-rower Fonua-Blake was deemed to have breached the NRL's anti-vilification code, suspended two games and fined $20,000 for two separate remarks aimed at referees last weekend.
He was heard by on-field microphones calling referee Grant Atkins a “f***ing retard”, before a second spray off the field in which he called the referees “spastics.”
Fonua-Blake was incensed by a call that denied Manly the chance to potentially send their two-point loss to Newcastle to extra time.
Discussing the scandal on Sports Sunday, Gallen said the two-match suspension and fine was an adequate punishment.
“Manly officials and Addin Fonua-Blake should’ve known just to get him in the changing rooms,” Gallen said.
“The fact that he was even in the area and allowed to mouth off again, that’s where the issue laid for me.
“What happened on the field, happened on the field. If you’re caught saying those things, you’ll be punished accordingly, and he was.
“It’s done now and we should move on.”
FitzSimons and Gallen in fiery debate
However FitzSimons wasn’t ready to move, disagreeing with Gallen that ‘what happens on the field, happens on the field.’
The former Wallabies player was gobsmacked by Fonua-Blake’s assertion he didn’t understand what the words he used actually meant.
That sparked a heated back-and-forth between himself and Gallen.
FitzSimons: “What about the sheer absurdity of the terms that he used, saying after it ‘I didn’t know that they had a pejorative sense, that they meant bad things,’ that’s the first thing.
“The second thing is when he’s in the tunnel and he says the thing about the referees ‘your eyes painted on’ and then ‘I wasn’t saying it to the referees.’ Doesn’t it say to you this is ridiculous? Fess up, own up and say ‘I said the wrong thing, I’m sorry.”
Gallen: “Maybe for the second part, yes. For the second part maybe he should have fessed up and said ‘I said the wrong thing’ and as I said, the Manly officials, someone should have known to get him into the changerooms, away from it.
“What happened on the field and what he said when he didn’t know it was a derogative term...
FitzSimons: “Oh you can’t accept that.”
Gallen: “We don’t all live up here in Fitzy’s ivory tower, mate. Down here in the real world, some things happen and are said in the heat of the moment. He said the wrongs things and he’s been punished for it.”
FitzSimons: “How can you believe that? That’s absurd. If he didn’t know that these terms are derogatory, then why did he use them? If these terms had as much force as saying ‘you’re an apple’ or ‘you’re a carrot’ then why did he use them?”
Gallen: He’s probably heard them before from other people. I’m not agreeing with these terms and what he said, what I’m saying is that in the heat of the moment on the field, I can understand a blow up. He’s had a blow up, and now he’s being punished for it.”