An Indigenous Australian rugby league player has been banned for a game after she reportedly made a social media post about the Queen’s death last week, in which she called the monarch a “dumb dog”.
Caitlin Moran, who plays for Newcastle Knights in NRLW, made derogatory remarks about the Queen in a now-deleted Instagram post, according to multiple Australian media reports.
On Tuesday, the NRL announced that it intends to suspend Moran for one game and fine her 25% of her contract.
The 25-year-old is also required to attend education and training programs related to her responsibilities as a player and her use of social media. The NRL said the fine will be suspended if she participates in those programs, but if there is another code violation, she must pay the fine immediately.
“Rugby league is an inclusive game and has a proud and strong relationship with many communities,” the NRL said in a statement.
“Regardless of personal views, all players and officials must abide by the professional standards expected of them and on this occasion the player’s public statements have damaged the game.”
Moran, who helped Australia’s Jillaroos win the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup, has not responded to the NRL’s ban nor responded to CNN’s request for comment.
She has until Tuesday to respond to the NRL’s announcement.
The Knights said they backed the one-game ban and fine, confirming Moran will not play in Sunday’s game against the St George Illawarra Dragons.
However, the Rugby League Players’ Association called the punishment “way too harsh” and “disproportionate”, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, while Knights NRLW head coach Ronald Griffiths supported Moran, who has an Indigenous heritage.
“The relationship between indigenous peoples and the monarchy is certainly complicated,” Griffiths told reporters on Sunday.
“At the end of the day, if Caitlin has done something, it will be investigated by the integrity department and we will work our way through the process.”
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For some Indigenous Australians, the British monarchy is a poignant reminder of their suffering under colonial rule, dating back to the time when British settlers arrived in Australia in 1788. Thousands of indigenous people were killed during Britain’s colonization of the country.
Earlier this year, Indigenous lawmaker Lidia Thorpe labeled the Queen a colonizer while being sworn in in Australia’s Parliament.
Thorpe offered Moran her support this week and continued to write Twitter: “I urge the NRL to conduct their own racism awareness training. If anyone needs education, it’s you. They are responsible for providing a safe workplace for First Nations players. Solidarity with Cailtin Moran [sic]. Stay strong sister.”