The Halftime Spray - Round 15

Every year in Rugby League, fans are debating topics about illegal tackles, fighting and the like that goes on during games, whether the game is getting soft, if the judiciary is consistent, if the game's image is appealing to children or not and so on.

But one thing that happened on the field that we should never have to talk about, but sadly are this week, is a player alleging that a referee has been bribed.

Last weekend, Parramatta's Chris Sandow asked referee Ben Cummins "How much are they paying you?" after Parramatta were penalised in their game against Melbourne.

Cummins summoned Sandow to the sin bin for ten minutes.

Given that the game has been moulded and shaped to appeal more to children and mum's, Sandow's antics were the truly most unprofessional and disrespectful imaginable.

For journalists to label the comment as nothing more than ‘cheeky' is partially condoning the actions.

But even worse is that Parramatta coach Brad Arthur felt the need to lay the blame at the feet of the referees, as opposed to condemning Sandow's comment.

Arthur said "There needs to be a two-way street with respect shown to the players and the referee"

Well Brad, Sandow showed the utmost in disrespect, which was totally unwarranted. 

He went on to say that Sandow "probably shouldn't have said anything, but the players are out there busting their arse."

Probably. Probably?

He definitely shouldn't have said what he did Brad. There is no grey area here.

I can understand the frustration of feeling like the ref calls are going against you all game. But guess what, every single fan, player and administrator of every single sporting team in every single competition in every single country of the world has had that feeling.

They, like you Brad, have also had days when the dubious calls tend to go your way. You never criticise the referees on those days though do you?

Furthermore, you didn't pay the referees to make those calls, did you?

Sandow's deplorable behaviour deserve a suspension, to teach him a lesson that such comments will not and should not be tolerated. He should be made to undertake a refereeing course and do some training with the refs, maybe even officiate a junior game.

Arthur should be fined by the NRL. His comments have barely stopped short of suggesting that the referees are cheats.

This is the worst possible image that the game could show to children. Leaving it go unpunished is nothing more than a statement that this behaviour is okay and will be tolerated, when it most definitely should not.

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