July 27, 2021

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Why NRL furore made Australian great 'sick'

2 min read
Former Australian netball captain Liz Ellis has called on the outrage brigade to stop, and...

Former Australian netball captain Liz Ellis has called on the outrage brigade to stop, and instead wants the fallout from Toby Rudolf's warning by the NRL to be a moment of education.

"[The joke] fell flat when he talked about women," Ellis said on Sports Sunday.

"I get jokes, and he had of just said, 'I'm going to Northies, I'm having 10 quick schooners and staying out all night', then the joke would have been funny."

The Sharks forward received a formal warning from the NRL over "inappropriate" comments made in a post-match interview.

Rudolf was asked on Fox League what he had planned for Sunday night after Cronulla beat the Dragons in Round One.

"Probably about 1000 beers. Go to Northies [pub], try and pull something. Anything will do," Rudolf said.

"No, honestly, it's all about recovery these days. I'll be going straight home, straight to the ice bath and staying very, very quiet."

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Ellis said she took issue with the terminology used, and that even if he had said "women" instead of "something, anything" it would not have been anywhere near as controversial.

"It makes me feel sick when I hear women described as things. And I feel like in this moment, in this country, women are a bit sick of being the butt of the jokes like that," she said.

"I'm happy that the player in question has come out and apologised … I think football players can be funny without being derogatory to women."

The 48-year-old said she didn't think Rudolf's comments were meant to be malicious or offensive, but that they could enable people who did hold sexist views.

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"I don't want to be jumping on the outrage bandwagon, but it also needs to be examined," she said.

"And Toby might not have meant anything by it, but it actually opens the door for people who are disrespectful to women."

The netball legend said that it was in moments like this where men had to step up and stamp out comments that were disrespectful to women.

"I think that when something like that gets said, it's hard socially. If one of your mates says something like that and you feel uncomfortable, it's hard to say, 'Mate, pull up,'" she said.

"I can sit here and say how it makes me feel, but we actually need allies to say pull up.

"This is where we're at, right. Because culturally it's really difficult to do that. And rather than jump all over Toby Rudolf, I actually think we need to use this as a moment of education."

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