It’s been a tense week for Jack Nowell after finding out that he was due to be punished over his social media comments on a refereeing decision that led to teammate Olly Woodburn’s red card. Nowell was consequently fined £10,000 for his tweet criticising the actions of referee Karl Dickson.
In a since-deleted tweet, Nowell wrote: “I’m actually in shock, like shock shocked. What the hell is happening? That’s one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen. EVER”.
RFU panel chair Matthew O’Grady explained the reason for the punishment: “Respect for match officials – even if we disagree with their decisions, indeed especially if we disagree with their decisions – is a core part of rugby union. It is not a value that we can turn on and off when we choose,
“Mr Nowell accepted his tweet, which was viewed many hundreds of thousands of times, was not fair comment and crossed the line of what is acceptable by a person with his considerable status in the game.”
Not everyone agrees with Matthew O’Grady, however, with many criticising the need to police players on their opinions of the official’s actions. Former Wasps and England fly-half Andy Goode has been particularly vocal about the situation, stating: So Jack Nowell has been fined £10,000 and has to do a referees course for his harmless tweet. RFU have a word with your disciplinary panel that is absolutely ridiculous and embarrassing”.
James Haskell has been key to point out the issues of taking away player’s voices:
💭 Hask’s view on the decision to fine Nowellsy £10,000 for tweeting criticism of the Olly Woodburn red card.
— The Good, The Bad & The Rugby (@GoodBadRugby) April 20, 2023
While Jamal Ford-Robinson has taken a slightly more humorous angle on the whole situation with this tweet:
mate of mine has just been lumped with a pretty hefty fine.
is it worth setting up a gofundme for?
— Jamal Ford-Robinson (@jfordrob) April 20, 2023