Gary Hetherington issues statement on Marcus Griffiths homophobic abuse after Leeds Rhinos game

Leeds Rhinos met Huddersfield Giants in a vital clash as the two teams continue to battle with Warrington Wolves, Hull FC, Hull KR and Salford Red Devils for a spot in the play-offs.

It was therefore a vital game neither could afford to lose which meant the biggest decisions were even more important.

This is what made it a difficult game for Marcus Griffiths with a number of 50/50 decisions to be made.

Perhaps the most controversial was the decision to award Jake Connor’s drop goal which Leeds boss Rohan Smith said went wide.

However, sadly Griffiths has now had to deal with homophobic abuse on social media following the game and this has been universally condemned by the RFL as well as Leeds Rhinos.

Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington has given his support to the statement issued by the Rugby Football League today condemning the homophobic abuse received by match official Marcus Griffiths on social media.

The Rugby Football League stands behind Marcus Griffiths, one of the full-time panel of elite match officials, as he highlights the disgraceful, homophobic abuse he has received on social media.

Tony Sutton, the RFL Chief Executive, has written to all professional clubs today stressing the importance of observing the sport’s Tackle It policy and Respect code of conduct in supporting match officials.

“All in the sport will condemn the appalling abuse which Marcus Griffiths has received on social media,” Sutton explained.

“We will provide support to Marcus through Rugby League Cares, and have worked with him in alerting the relevant authorities, whether digital or law-enforcement.

“We would urge all involved in the sport, whether at clubs or even in the media, to consider the consequences of their words and actions.

“Homophobic abuse is a hate crime and punishable by law. We want to be clear that any kind of discriminatory abuse is not welcome in our sport, and we will take the strongest possible action against perpetrators who can be identified.

“Our Match Officials work under intense scrutiny and pressure. We owe it to them as a governing body, and also as a sport, to support them at all times.”

Hetherington added, “As a club, Leeds Rhinos fully support the RFL’s statement. These types of comments damage our game and any fair minded Rugby League fan should be opposed to them.”