June 24, 2021

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Ellis responds to Stuart's netball 'apology'

3 min read
NRL coach Ricky Stuart botched his apology over a derogatory comment about netball, former Australian...

NRL coach Ricky Stuart botched his apology over a derogatory comment about netball, former Australian captain Liz Ellis says.

Stuart didn't actually need to apologise, Ellis said, but had to genuinely acknowledge that he'd said the wrong thing.

"Firstly, I don't think that it was a proper apology that he made. Secondly, I didn't want an apology," Ellis said on Sports Sunday.

"All I wanted was for him to come out and say, 'You know what, I've reflected, poor choice of words, I won't do it again'.

"He doesn't have to apologise. He just needs to acknowledge that he got it wrong."

Canberra Raiders coach Stuart sparked uproar by saying, according to News Corp columnist Paul Kent: "If I can't have tough conversations with my better players, I might as well coach netball."

He later issued an apology of sorts, over the implication that female-dominated netball was a soft sport, though it was delivered while laughing.

"Look, I respect all sports and it was an off-the-cuff comment. I've had a laugh about it," Stuart told reporters.

"I've had some journalists ring me last night and we had a laugh about it but they're probably flogging the hell out of me today, turn to their pen and flog me.

"But look, I respect netball and I'm sorry if I offended any girl or boy that plays netball. All sports are tough and I understand that.

"As John Fordham once said to me, 'Mate any publicity is good publicity as long as they're spelling your name right' … I hope netball take it as good publicity for them."

Ricky apologises for netball dig

Ellis responded sarcastically on Sports Sunday: "Thanks, Ricky, for the publicity for the ladies. That's great.

"He had to acknowledge that this had become an issue. The first tweet actually was from Anne Sargent, who is the nicest person in the world. If you've upset Anne, you've really dug deep.

"People are going, 'Why are you offended by this? Get a life'. It's actually just a build-up. It's paper cuts, over a 1000 little paper cuts that actually get to the point where you go, 'You know what, you have to stop. It's the 21st century, you have to stop making netball and women's sport a euphemism for being soft. You can't just have a throwaway line'.

"I know it's a throwaway line and I know that Ricky Stuart and Paul Kent in reporting it, they didn't wake up that morning and think, 'Oh, we're going to take a potshot at netball'. It's like I didn't wake up Thursday morning and think, 'I want to open a can of whoop arse on Ricky Stuart'.

"It's more that you actually react to what's in front of you. When they have that throwaway line … I coach two little under-10s netball teams at Ballina Netball Association, the Seahorses and the Turtles. I think, 'I've got to stick up for them', because the standard you walk past is the standard you accept."

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