“I’m truly sorry,” the NRL coach begged.
Ricky Stuart, the coach of the Canberra Raiders, has apologized for his strange comments about Penrith Panthers playmaker Jaeman Salmon after the game.
Stuart went off on Salmon after the Panthers’ five-eighth was put on report for kicking at Tom Starling, the Raiders’ hooker, during Saturday night’s 26-6 win.
In the 60th minute of Round 21, when Starling tackled Salmon, Salmon kicked out with his foot.
“The tackles by James Fisher-Harris and Joe Tapine are accidents, and I understand that in this collision game,” Stuart told reporters at the press conference after the game.
“But where Salmon kicked Tommy Starling, it’s not cool. “I’ve had problems with that kid in the past” (Salmon). “I’ve known that kid for a long time. He was a weak dog when he was young, and he still is. He is now a dog person with a weak gut.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Salmon is talking to a lawyer and might be thinking about suing for libel.
After hearing about Stuart’s comments, the 23-year-old wanted to talk to the media, but the Panthers told him not to.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said on “The Big Sports Breakfast” that the NRL Integrity Unit would look into the matter.
Stuart later apologized for what he said in a statement released on Sunday morning. He said, “I regret what I said on that stage after the game. I wasn’t talking as a football coach, but as a father. My reaction was to a family problem I thought I had solved, but it turns out I haven’t. I let my feelings get the best of me, and I’m very sorry about that. There is a history between Jaeman Salmon and my family that I won’t go into. I shouldn’t have talked about it after the game, but I just couldn’t help myself.
“I’m very sorry that I brought unwanted attention to my family and the game.”
A News Corp report says that Stuart and Salmon don’t like each other because of something that happened at an under-12s game in 2010 that made Stuart’s son cry.
Phil Gould, a big name in rugby league, was shocked when it came out that Stuart’s son had played with Salmon in Penrith’s junior system.
“Ricky is telling the truth when he says he’s known this kid for a while,” Gould told Channel 9.
“Ricky’s statement that he doesn’t regret what he said and that he stands by it is pretty strange, because I’ve never heard a coach say anything like that at a press conference.”
I can’t think of anything that would make me say something like that at a press conference.”
Ricky will need a very good reason, and I don’t know how he’s going to prove it. I think Jaeman Salmon would do something to him if he said something like that.
“I know his team lost tonight, and that’s probably the end of their run for the finals… But he’s been running for office for so long that he’s been in situations like that too many times to let his emotions get the best of him. He’s not like he’s just starting out.”
During his press conference after the game, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was asked about Starling’s hit and Stuart’s comments.
He told reporters, “I don’t know, it’s hard to see on our small screen.”
“I can’t believe Jaeman would do that on purpose, but I really didn’t see it.”
I don’t think I have to answer those remarks (from Stuart).
“I know what Jaeman is like. He is valuable to our club, and we love him, so that is all that matters to us.”
Corey Parker, who used to be captain of the Brisbane Broncos, also thought Stuart went too far and said the NRL could punish him for his public outburst.
“I can’t think of a time in my life when a coach went after a player or said some things about a player like that,” Parker said on Fox League.
“It will be very interesting to see what happens in the next few days.”
But it doesn’t look good, especially since Ricky is the head coach.
Stuart has been fined more than $120,000 over the course of his 21 years as a coach. In 2015, he was fined $20,000 for leaving a press conference and refusing to talk to the media.