People shouldn’t have to put up with racism – Manawatū Rugby CEO

By Bronson Perich

Pahīatua Bush club rugby player Dylan Steminger was recently stood down for calling an opponent a ‘black c***’, during a game. Manawatū Rugby CEO Shannon Paku explained why the player was suspended for five weeks.

“People shouldn’t have to put up with that kind of rubbish,” Paku says.

Paku says the Bush team from Pahīatua was playing the Varsity team when Steminger launched a racist insult at one of the Varsity players.

The Varsity team lodged a formal complaint after the July 11 match. The matter was referred to Manawatū Rugby’s judicial panel. Paku explains the process behind the suspension decision.

“We’ve got a process that we’ve got to follow,” he says.

“We then pass it on to our external judicial panel, which then applies the NZRU judicial rules.”

Factors such as previous offences and expressed remorse are taken into account as well.

Racism and bigotry not welcome in Manawatū

Paku was happy it was the victim’s teammates lodged the complaint. For him, it’s a sign that people are standing against racism.

The Manawatū CEO says racism and bigotry are not welcome on his football fields.

“We are taking a hard stance, and we want everyone to know it’s just not acceptable,” Paku says.

“People are actually not accepting it now.”