Stand against an NRL that accepts violence against women
  • Petitioned Peter Jourdain

This petition was delivered to:

North Queensland Cowboys CEO
Peter Jourdain
National Rugby League Chief Executive
David Gallop
West Tigers CEO
Stephen Humphreys
NRL Director of Media and Communications
John Brady

Stand against an NRL that accepts violence against women

    1. Petition by

      Anthony Simpson

      Seventeen Mile Rocks, Australia

March 2012


UPDATE: The NRL has now banned Robert Lui from competing in the league for an entire season. This is an incredibly important step and a powerful precedent that sends a strong message that the league will not accept violence against women and will crack down on those found guilty of perpetrating that.

I more comprehensive response to the League's move will be posted soon, but for now they should be congratulated on this important decision.


I'm ashamed at the Rugby League continuing to turn a blind-eye to players beating up women.

Two weeks ago, a player who used to be with the team I love -- the Wests Tigers -- pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend and mother of his six-month old baby. Yet the Rugby League thinks it's appropriate to allow this player back on the field to be a "role model" to my kids within weeks.  

It's happening over and over again, but the NRL is still refusing to adequately deal with the issues of violence against women within their clubs. They've tried education programs, and should be congratulated for helping in rehabilitation programs -- but it's clearly not working by itself.

I think that every single player needs to face serious, career-threatening consequences for assaulting a woman. These actions wouldn't be tolerated in other workplaces -- why should they be for League players?

I'm calling on NRL chief David Gallop to implement an automatic, one-season ban for any player found guilty of assaulting a woman. It would send a clear message that the NRL is serious about stopping players hitting women.

I'm a born and bred Tigers supporter of over thirty years. I love the game, and I want my son to grow up a Wests Tigers fan, but I'm ashamed and sick of the weak response from the NRL to players bashing women. It's not the culture and behaviour I expect of players who are held up as role models to kids.

If enough fans, commentators and the community join me in speaking out about this culture, it could force NRL chief David Gallop to finally get serious about implementing policies to deal with violence against women.

Please sign my petition to NRL chief David Gallop and demand that they implement a policy to ban players for one year if they are guilty of domestic violence. 


Recent signatures


    1. Response from NRL (Part 1)

      Nick Allardice
      Managing Director, Asia

      Today contacted the NRL directly and asked them to provide a statement / comment on Tony's petition so far. Here's their response:

      Thanks for the opportunity to finally respond to the petition.

      We understand the depth of feeling about domestic violence because it is an issue we also feel strongly about.

      That is why Robert Lui was suspended indefinitely, immediately following his verdict. It is also why Isaac Gordon is not playing. We do not support fixed automatic penalties because people’s lives are too complex and because individual circumstances can be too varied. We do believe a clear message should be sent, one that encompasses suspension, counselling and rehabilitation. Those issues will be determined in the near future as all factors are assessed.

    2. Response from NRL (Part 2)

      Nick Allardice
      Managing Director, Asia

      Rugby League is already engaged in a number of programs targeting domestic violence including the NSW Government’s Tackling Domestic Violence project coordinating grass roots clubs, the Federal Government’s reducing Violence Against Women project, White Ribbon, our own playing by the Rules programs and the Respectful Relationships program. These are strong ongoing commitments. They do not make Rugby League immune from issues of domestic violence any more, sadly, than any other part of society can make such a claim. Statistics show that domestic violence finds its way across all social circles. Rugby League can and does take a role in dealing with the issues that do occur within the sport and that is underlined by the fact Robert Lui has not played since his conviction and the fact he is facing further sanction.

      -- John Brady, Communications Manager at the National Rugby League.

    3. Sunrise and Sky News cover the petition

      Nathan Elvery
      Campaigner, Australia

      Over the Easter break, Weekend Sunrise and Sky News crossed to a live segment about Tony's petition and the campaign for the NRL to take a stand against violence against women.

      Check out the Sunrise segment with Paul Murray here:

    4. Pressure on NRL sponsors to withdraw support over violence against women

      Nathan Elvery
      Campaigner, Australia

      Stories about NRL sponsors facing pressure has appeared in the online and print copies of the Herald Sun and The Courier Mail today.

    5. NRL sponsors face consumer backlash

      Nathan Elvery
      Campaigner, Australia

      "Telstra, Toyota and AAMI are facing community pressure to withdraw their sponsorship of the National Rugby League (NRL) unless it takes a tougher stand on violence against women."

    6. Thousands sign rugby league petition

      Nathan Elvery
      Campaigner, Australia

      "Brisbane father of two Tony Simpson has taken on the NRL, calling for an automatic one-year ban for rugby league players found guilty of violence against women.

      Simpson's internet campaign, launched on over the weekend, was soaring towards 10,000 signatures on Tuesday."

    7. Reached 20,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Debbie Fassnacht MISSOULA, MT
      • over 2 years ago

      As a society, we must stop promoting violence as acceptable on all fronts! I am sick of the violence against women by men in prominent sports leagues and teams. It is time for serious consequences so being a positive role model a is part of the job players take seriously.

      • over 2 years ago

      Please, vote for us, abused women, we need help and protection.

      We ask for Minister of Justice to make the list of abusive serial batterers, men who beaten us

      • over 2 years ago
      • over 2 years ago

      I work with women and children who have experienced domestic violence and see the long term effects it has on a daily basis. It is so important for men to take a stand and send the message that they will not perpetrate or condone violence against women! The NRL could really make a difference!

    • David Waters NEWPORT, AUSTRALIA
      • over 2 years ago

      This is sending the wrong message to the youth who look up to these players.


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