Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Former professional Rugby League player Ian Roberts had a career that lasted for over 200 games and was played in two different continents.
He played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and North Queensland Cowboys in Australia with a stint at Wigan in the United Kingdom during his time with South Sydney.
He would also go on to represent New South Wales in State of Origin and play for Australia.
Roberts is also known for being the first Rugby League player in Australia to come out publicly and reveal that he is a homosexual in 1995.
Over the past few days, the NRL investigated an incident during the New Zealand and North Queensland game where a homophobic slur was used to by a Warriors player towards Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt.
The player in question has since been identified as Marcelo Montoya.
Roberts was asked about the incident by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Christian Nicolussi and believes it should have been acted upon quicker by the NRL.
Ian Roberts’ thoughts on Marcelo Montoya’s ‘f——t’ commenthttps://t.co/r8v42o5jAQ
— christian nicolussi (@mrchrisnico) April 11, 2022
“I’m obviously disappointed about the incident, it’s saddening, I understand things are said in the heat of the moment, but there needed to be a quicker response from the clubs and the NRL,” said Roberts.
“To leave it for two days … what was said was very audible over the telecast.
“I don’t care if someone calls me ‘f—-t’ but I’ve said it so many times, there are people out in the suburbs and regional areas who are really struggling with their sexual identity, and those comments have consequences.
“I work with the NRL, we do an inclusion program, and they’re great, but it’s times like this when things play out … sport has the power to bridge gaps in society.”
Montoya is expected to plead guilty to his contrary conduct charge and is believed to be extremely apologetic over what happened.
Warriors CEO Cameron George also commented on the situation to The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday.
“We don’t condone any commentary of that nature but, at the end of the day, it’s inconclusive for us at the moment, the footage that I’ve been provided.”
The footage has since of course become conclusive with Montoya to soon find out his fate.