League great Wendell Sailor says he understands why Tyrone Peachey refused to lodge a formal complaint amid claims he was racially abused by Newcastle’s Mitchell Barnett on Friday night.
The Gold Coast lock was allegedly called a “black c–t” late in the win over Newcastle, but decided not to make an official complaint to referee Chris Sutton after bringing the alleged incident to the match official’s attention.
The NRL has since launched an investigation.
Sailor said he experienced racial abuse throughout his entire career in both codes and suggested recent incidents involving racial abuse in Australian sport would have weighed on Peachey’s mind.
“I’m not going to bag Peachey (for not making formal complaint) because I’ve been through it and you sort of don’t want to call them out because you understand what the ramifications are,” he said on Triple M.
“We’re never going to stop it … it’s happened to me when I played for Australia, in the NRL, it’s happened to kids today.
“Understand this – Adam Goodes stood up for his rights and (against) racism — and look what happened to him,” he added.
“Peach probably thinks, ‘I don’t want to be that guy’, and he’s seen what’s happened to Latrell (Mitchell), to the other guys…”
Goodes’ former Sydney Swans teammate, Jude Bolton, said Peachey shouldn’t have to make a decision in the heat of the moment, and expecting an athlete to do so is “unacceptable”.
“I don’t think a player who’s just been vilified should have to sit there and think, ‘I’ve got to make a decision now about dragging it all through’,” Bolton said on Triple M.
“You should just say it happened (and look at it after the game).
“Is he thinking in those moments, ‘Do I have to go through what Goodesy and Greg Inglis and Latrell Mitchell have been through?”