‘For a tweet?’: The big problem with NRLW star’s ‘severe’ punishment for Queen post
It was a tweet that was slammed for “causing damage to the game” but at the same time exposed the chasm of expectations that exists between male and female athletes.
When the NRL came down hard on Newcastle player Caitlin Moran and banned her for her social media post following the death of Queen Elizabeth II - fining her 25 per cent of her season’s salary and a one match suspension - it triggered a series of responses.
Chiefly from female athletes, including fellow NRLW player and Player Advisory Group representative Keeley Davis, it screamed of double standards.
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Over the past decades, female athletes have been fighting for equality in pay, facilities and opportunity.
But as our greatest basketballer and four-time Olympian Lauren Jackson said: “Some gains have been made but the push for equality has also resulted in female athletes being held to greater account.”
“I didn’t see that tweet ... but I do think in this day and age, equality also means holding athletes to the same standards,” Aussie basketball legend Jackson said.
“It shouldn’t be a case of just feeling grateful and thankful ... we deserve to take our place on the sporting stage. For guys, who get these amazing opportunities, when things go wrong - the opportunities are still there.
“Often, it’s explained away as ‘that’s just boys being boys’ but what I find interesting is that the opportunities are still there for them.
“With the push for more attention, there is going to be more spotlight on female athletes - and I think most of us welcome that. We just now want the expectations to be the same.”
Davis added: “The punishment Caitlin received just wouldn’t happen in the men’s game - a game suspension and 25 per cent? For a tweet? I am not condoning the tweet but given the fines we see handed out to male players - we are asking for consistency.”
The Rugby League Players Union went further and said the fine was “too severe”.
“Caitlin‘s proposed financial punishment is another example of the inconsistent and disproportionate penalties handed down to players,” the RLPA said.
“Case-by-case, the NRL has a worrying track record of inconsistent punishments given to players.
The post, deleted after about eight hours, resulted in Moran being the first women’s player to be banned for an off-field matter in NRLW history. Moran has since been named as a reserve for Sunday’s semi-final against St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium.
In the other match, the undefeated Roosters play the Eels in the second game of Suncorp’s double-header.
NRLW semi-finals, Sunday (all times AEST)
KNIGHTS v DRAGONS, 1.30pm
ROOSTERS v EELS, 3.40pm
The matches will be streamed live on Kayo Sports, and is part of Kayo’s commitment to Women’s Sport which features a record number of broadcast hours for women’s sport in September through to October.