Leniu Calls Mam a Monkey

Leniu and Broncos involved in late-night hotel argument over ‘monkey’ slur as Rooster sent to judiciary.

 
Ezra Mam takes a stand against alleged onfield racist abuse in Las Vegas
Andrew Mathieson March 3, 2024
 

Ezra Mam has filed a complaint to match officials over allegedly being called a "monkey" on the field by rival Spencer Leniu in the NRL's Las Vegas opening round.

The Broncos had been penalised in the second half over an unrelated incident when Mam, a Kuku Yalanji man and Torres Strait Islander, came forward to accuse the new Sydney Roosters recruit of a direct racist slur.

The complaint from Mam appeared to come after players from the respective teams came together as several of the Roosters remonstrated over a prohibited aerial charge following a Brisbane long kick.

Referee Adam Gee soon after told captains Adam Reynolds and James Tedesco that Leniu had been put on report.

"Ezra has made a formal complaint that is racial in nature against Spencer," Gee told the two players.

"I haven't heard it, but the incident goes on report and it will be dealt with after. That's where it's left."

The audio suggests Mam tells Gee earlier "he called me a monkey" and an unknown teammate also repeats the same accusation.

Mam was visibly upset at the time and according to media reports he left the field for the locker rooms immediately after the 20-10 defeat where Broncos officials have said their star playmaker broke down into tears.

"He's pretty upset in there, but we'll leave that in the hands of the NRL to police and adjudicate on," Broncos coach Kevin Walters said in the press conference.

"We support Ezra and our player with everything around that.

"He's adamant. We'll leave it with the NRL. They're looking at it."

He appeared to look surprised by the accusation when Gee first told the backrower of the complaint.

Leniu, who came off the bench in Penrith's last three premiership sides, is of Samoan heritage.

After the second of the double-header matches, Leniu said he was not worried about the claims could lead to a suspension.

"It's all fun and games on the field," Leniu told Nine, one of the game broadcasters, after the final whistle.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson refused to be drawn into defending his player.

"I don't know what happened," Robinson said.

"Ezra is adamant, but that doesn't mean it's right. He made the complaint, it doesn't mean it's right.

"It will go through formal process as it should."

Both Reece Walsh and Reynolds rubbished Leniu's seeming suggestion that there's nothing in the on-field jibes during post-match interviews.

The post-script to the first of two NRL matches in the United States, as a part of a five-year deal, took the shine following Manly's earlier 36-24 win over South Sydney.

At the time of the 69th minute incident, Walsh was hit in the ribs off the ball and was left not moving in backplay, while his Indigenous teammate Kotoni Staggs was on the ground receiving treatment for suspected cramp from a Broncos trainer down 14-10.

The Roosters scored in the fourth minute through Joey Manu, and never gave up the lead for the rest of the match.

Walsh appeared to revive hope and a notable spark for his side in the 59th minute.

The Murri man set up a backline move that he finished to bring the Broncos within four points after Walsh's earlier loose pass had gifted Manu's initial try.

Walsh could be under investigation for the full back's try-stopping shoulder charge.

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