A remorseful Jarome Luai has admitted his controversial social media post after the Panthers’ grand final win was a mistake.
The NRL Integrity Unit investigated Luai after the star half posted an Instagram story of himself alongside teammate Jaeman Salmon in the dressing rooms.
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Fox Sports has chosen not to publish the word that accompanied the post that has racial connotations but which some teammates say is used to describe a friend.
The post was met with strong criticism with NRL360’s Paul Kent among the most vocal.
“It’s a well known racial term which Penrith claim is a term of endearment, which is ridiculous,” Paul Kent said earlier this month.
‘ACT LIKE MEN’ – Kenty on Luai | 00:36
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“Honestly, at some point these blokes have got to be asked to act like men. They’re carrying on like 16-year-old schoolboys the way they’re caring on with this victory.
It was reported that Luai was facing a ban at the Rugby League World Cup but he has since been cleared to play.
Luai told 9 News he was just “embracing” a mate with the social media post but accepted it was wrong.
“I realised when I woke up to the phone call, I knew to take it down straight away,” he said.
“I know it caught a few headlines. I’m just grateful that I get to participate in the first couple of games (at the World Cup)
Luai said he also understood why there was backlash to the post.
“One hundred percent, and that’s why I understand it was the wrong thing to do and the wrong thing to post,” he said.
“With the influence we have as big NRL players we need to watch what we say and that’s definitely a lesson learned for me.”
The 25-year-old, however, was more defiant when asked to respond to claims the Panthers had acted arrogantly during their premiership celebrations.
Panthers forward james Fisher-Harris declared the current his side “the greatest Penrith team ever”, eclipsing club’s 1991 and 2003 premiership sides before twisting the knife into the Eels declaring: “Parra are our sons. Right here, right now, that’s just a fact”.
The crowd responded with repeated chants of, “We hate Parra”. A video posted on social media showed several Panthers players joining in on the chant.
Luai, however, had a message to those who had a problem with their behaviour.
“I’ve sort of got a saying for myself: ‘If you’re not hated you’re not doing it right’ so i’m sort of embracing that,” he said.”
“We are just being who we are as people. I know whoever knows us face to face and person to person knows we are good people.
“We are just enjoying this ride.”