Salford Reds winger Justin Carney has been banned for eight matches by the RFL after admitting racially abusing an opponent.
The player was sent off by referee Jack Smith 26 minutes into the Red Devils’ 29-22 win over Toronto Wolfpack in the fifth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup last month following comments directed at former Leeds prop forward Ryan Bailey.
The 28-year-old Australian was subsequently charged with verbal abuse based on race or colour by the RFL’s match review panel.
A spokesperson for the Red Devils’ commented; “Justin has today pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct being that, in the game against Toronto Wolfpack on 23 April he used verbal abuse to an opposition player based on race/colour, although he did contest the severity of the charge.
“Whilst Justin has admitted using the offending words in an abusive manner, he did not intend his words to be taken in a “racial” context. Justin is an indigenous Australian and is proud of his Aboriginal heritage. He stands firm on the position that he is not nor has he ever been a racist.
“He is grateful that having received several letters of support from within the RFL community both here and in Australia, the Tribunal today has accepted that he is not a racist. He is also grateful for the courtesy and fairness shown to him during the hearing today.
“The outcome of the tribunal means he has been suspended for 8 matches and fined £300. One game of this has already been served as Carney did not play in last weekend’s win over Widnes Vikings while awaiting the outcome of the Tribunal
Justin will now undertake an internal investigation (pending any subsequent appeal) into his conduct by Salford Red Devils. The Club takes all disciplinary matters concerning race, creed and religion extremely seriously and embraces the sports strict code of conduct.
No further comment can be made until that investigation has been finalised.