Former Rugby Football Union council member Alex Murphy has been banned from Twickenham following a racist outburst during a Six Nations game.
The incident in question reportedly took place in an RFU council box during England’s Six Nations clash with Wales.
Reporting in the Guardian reports that Murphy said to another volunteer: “you realise they don’t let n****** in the Royal Box.” In addition to the comment, it is reported that a similar comment was made near the bar distressing the volunteer’s spouse.
In what is another mark against the RFU in this regard following reports that investigated former England international Luther Burrell’s claims that racism was rife in Rugby.
Prior to the incident, Mr Murphy was considered a distinguished member which is a title reserved for members who have previously served on the RFU council. Benefits of the title also include free match tickets to English international matches at Twickenham.
Releasing a statement surrounding the incident, the RFU council said: “We have considered whether this matter could be properly dealt with by a suspension of privileges,
“We do not feel in the circumstances that it could. A simple removal of privileges for a period would not be an appropriate sanction as it does not reflect the gravity of the matter. Additionally, such a sanction which simply allowed somebody to continue as a Distinguished member, but without privileges, would not send an appropriate message as to how unacceptable such behaviour is from someone in such a position.”
“We agree with the RFU that the language was archaic and incredibly offensive and there can be no excuse for not knowing it was so offensive and for continuing to use it. The language goes against the core principles of the game and the changes that the RFU and the game of rugby worldwide has been pursuing for some time.
“We agree with the submission made to us that the only appropriate sanction is to recommend to the body that gifts individuals the Distinguished Membership, the RFU Council, that Mr Murphy be removed as a Distinguished member and consequent on his removal as a Distinguished member we recommend to Council that all privileges are removed indefinitely.”
According to the Guardian’s reporting, Murphy was challenged by the volunteer on Whatsapp before calling to apologise. It was also reported that there was a hint that the incident was being passed off as “banter” but that was in no way a justification.
Murphy accepted the charges and the evidence brought forward by witnesses breached the council’s code of conduct.