Allegation: The Wildcats say racial abuse was directed at Nate Jawai during the Breakers game in New Zealand. Photo: Paul KaneFresh accusations have emerged that suggest we may not have heard the last of the alleged racist taunts controversy involving giant Perth Wildcats centre Nate Jawai and a NZ Breakers fan.
The saga erupted after Wednesday night’s 99-78 victory by the Breakers over their NBL rivals at the North Shore Events Centre when Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson told the post-game media conference Jawai had been racially abused by someone in the crowd.
“We’ll take that up with the league afterwards. It wasn’t pretty,” Gleeson said of an incident that saw him call for extra security behind his bench. “We don’t come here to get racially abused and we don’t want to see that in sport.”
But the following day the Wildcats appeared to distance themselves from the racial nature of the abuse allegations when they released a statement saying: “During the first half of Wednesday night’s loss to the Breakers … Jawai was taunted whilst being subbed out of the game.
“As this was an isolated incident limited to one person, Nate and the club have decided to move on and focus on Friday night’s home game against the Adelaide 36ers.”
Breakers chief executive Richard Clarke said he had been “disappointed” by the way the allegations were aired by Gleeson at the media conference, and not through any of the official channels available to him on the night.
He said he would be taking that up with both the league’s head office and the Wildcats organisation.
Clarke also conducted an extensive investigation into the allegations and said that had confirmed emphatically no racial abuse had taken place.
“Everything we’ve uncovered, all the responses from our members, from the Sky production crew, and from the NBL referees coach (sitting in the area concerned) are all backing up there wasn’t anything racial in what was said,” Clarke said.
He said the club’s fans had been “vindicated” by both the investigation and the Wildcats’ backtrack.
However, there appears to have been a further twist in the saga from the Wildcats on their return to Perth, or at least the threat of one.
According to The West Australian newspaper, there have been allegations the term “monkey” was directed at Jawai, the 2.08m, 140kg centre who is an indigenous Australian of Torres Strait Islander descent. A report in the newspaper said: “The Wildcats are adamant the term ‘monkey’ was used.”
Jawai said on his return to Perth he would leave the issue in the hands of the league. “It’s up to the NBL to do something about it. If not, I’m not worried about it any more,” he said.
However, the NBL has said it cannot conduct its own investigation unless a complaint is received.
Gleeson said after Friday’s home game against Adelaide, won 90-72 by the Wildcats, that the club would discuss the issue. “If Nate wants to take it further we’ll support him 100 per cent,” he said.
Gleeson indicated the full story had yet to come out. “It’s just Nate’s instant reaction, it’s not like his personality to do that straight away,” he said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.