Raiders coach apologises over his ‘off-the-cuff’ netball slur

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An unimpressed Ricky Stuart.

CANBERRA Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has trivially conceded an admission of guilt for reported misogynistic remarks that damned netball.

As the NRL outfit struggled towards its fifth consecutive loss, Stuart dismissed suggestions over not being able to have some hard conversations inside the team during a form slump that has sunk last season’s preliminary finalists.

“If I can’t have tough conversations with my better players, I might as well coach netball,” Stuart allegedly told seasoned rugby league journalist Paul Kent.

The naive “off the cuff” comment that referred to former captain Josh Hodgson resigning from the role weeks ago was said to be taken out of context, but still led to several netball figures publicly slamming Stuart over using the sport’s euphemism for being not tough.

“I’ve had a laugh about it,” Stuart said at a Canberra press conference on Friday (May 14).

“I had some journalists ring me last night – we had some laughs about it.

“But they probably flogged the hell out of me today.

“I respect netball – I’m sorry if I offended any girl or boy who plays netball.”

Less than 24 hours earlier, many in the sport took to Twitter to announce their outrage.

But a parting jab to netball from Stuart over a philosophy his former agent John Fordham, who only passed away in 2019, once told the veteran of the game may rile up more heated tweets despite the public apology.

“Any publicity is good publicity, as long as they’re spelling your name right,” Stuart said of Fordham words.

“I hope netball take it as good publicity for them.”

Former Australian Diamonds shooter and media commentator, Liz Ellis, was one of the few to publicly question Stuart over his remarks.

Other prominent names to take to social media included recent Australian head coach Lisa Alexander and legendary national captain Anne Sargeant.

“If you can’t have a tough conversation with your players, then you may as well not be coaching. Full stop,” Ellis tweeted.

“Stop making netball a euphemism for ‘not tough’. If you are still doing that in 2021, you might need get out to a game to do some fact checking.”

The outrage has come days after Stuart escaped a fine, but was hit with an official warning letter from the NRL after swearing at Saturday’s press conference.

It was the second time inside six weeks that the under-pressure Raiders coach was given an official caution following a sideline incident.

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