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Statement from Manly Sea Eagles CEO

A statement from Manly Sea Eagles CEO Stephen Humphreys.

"The past week has been very challenging.

The distress and offence caused to people with a disability and their loved ones by the language used by Addin Fonua-Blake on Sunday is totally unacceptable. Both Addin and the Club apologises unreservedly to the Disability Community for the offence caused.

Addin continues to acknowledge his mistake, express his remorse as well as his deep regret for what he did and he now fully understands the offence his words caused to so many people. He has also talked about his desire to repair the damage caused and to make amends for it as best he can. He has been working with the Club on specific ways in which he can best achieve this objective.

The NRL has now reached their final determination on the matter. Both Addin and the Club fully accept the NRL position without challenge or complaint.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, including Addin Fonua-Blake and all of his teammates, take great learning from this most regrettable experience but we can, and will, also use it as inspiration to become a strong and active advocate for the Disability Community and their Rights. In this way, we can again demonstrate all of the immensely positive attributes and capabilities of the great game of Rugby League.

We are a sport that welcomes and brings together participants from an incredibly diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. We have a history of taking responsibility for our mistakes and have consistently shown that we learn from these mistakes and most importantly, can drive positive change that transcends well beyond the natural boundaries of Rugby League.

Everyone associated with the game should be proud of the way Rugby League supports its own through the difficult process of admitting their wrongs and then doing something positive to make amends for them. We don’t have a lowest common denominator approach with a sole focus on punitive measures. We have the courage to care more about our bigger role in society in the knowledge that our honesty, contrition, education and positive action are powerful agents of change.

We thank the NRL and the Acting CEO Andrew Abdo for their professionalism in the handling of this very difficult and sensitive matter. Addin and our Club now welcome the responsibility of delivering on our commitments to make amends for the offence caused and to lead advocacy and change for the Disability Community more generally.''