A rugby league club from the NSW mid-north coast is under investigation after several players were photographed wearing shirts reading ‘Rape and Pillage Tour’ at Newcastle Airport.
Players from Group 3 club Old Bar Beach were snapped by a traveller wearing the custom shirts, which had been designed for their end of season trip.
The slogan quickly prompted backlash after it was shared on social media by Channel 9 commentator Peter FitzSimons.
New South Wales Country Rugby League has announced the players in question will be disciplined upon completion of an investigation.
Competition chief executive Terry Quinn described the situation as ‘extremely disappointing’ in a statement posted on their website.
“The behaviour of these persons is inexcusable and it is extremely disappointing,” Quinn said.
“The Old Bar Club denies having any involvement in producing the t-shirts, which was an action of individuals.
“We have been in contact with the club and the individuals have been instructed to destroy the t-shirts immediately.
@SmartState1 Peter today a CRL club boarded a plane at Newcastle Airport. The club members all wore shirts stating they were on their "rape and pillage tour" as a father I find it abhorrent that teams believe this is ok #auspol #NRL @Peter_Fitz @tanya_plibersek pic.twitter.com/FgCVY3ayJ1— Digital Wombat (@wombatdigital) September 19, 2019
“Once we find out the names of these said individuals they will be sanctioned accordingly.”
Social media backlash to ‘abhorrent’ slogan
Condemnation of the players’ shirts was swift on social media.
Some said they were surprised the players were allowed on the plane, while FitzSimons urged the CRL to look into the matter.
So do I.— Peter FitzSimons (@Peter_Fitz) September 20, 2019
I would suspect, and urge, the league to move quickly. https://t.co/u3pyR3c57I
The t-shirts are part of a wider problem. Please ensure that any investigation explores the comments these individuals made in response to the post, and the team song as well.— LindaLindaLinda (@LindaDrummond) September 20, 2019
This is disgraceful. How can they think this is okay?— 💧Sandy (@SandyJB57) September 20, 2019
Idiotic ! It's a mentality right through out the codes it would seem and you can't tell me that any bloke anywhere anytime could think that the wearing of such a shirt wouldn't provoke outrage and bring the game into disrepute ! 🤬@Todd_greenberg @Nrl— Ozesurfer (@Ozesurfer) September 20, 2019
Disgusting 👎👎👎👎😡🧨— Gail 💦 (@GailCoastie) September 20, 2019
Absolutely disgusting.— 💧🌳🌏Laminzi (@annaclarity) September 20, 2019