Warriors player Marcelo Montoya has been banned from four games after yelling a homophobic slur at Cowboys player Kyle Feldt, during a National Rugby League (NRL) game on April 8.

Montoya apologised and was subsequently called before the NRL judiciary where he expressed remorse.

Did It To ‘Get Under [Feldt’s] Skin’

Montoya explained his use of the homophobic slur saying, “Obviously in the heat of the moment on the footy field things are said and I totally understand and accept that the word I used is unacceptable.

“It is something that is definitely out of my character. It was definitely a poor choice of words. There was no intention by me to offend anyone or offend Kyle. It was just the heat of the moment and it was just a word that come out.”

Montoya continued, saying that he used the slur in order to, “get under [Feldt’s] skin or to just upset him. It wasn’t used to refer to his sexuality at all.” 

He then assured that he is “not a homophobe and gays in the community are valued,” and concluded by saying, “That is my position. I take full responsibility for that and I am ready for whatever is to come next.”

During Friday’s game between the New Zealand Warriors and North Queensland Cowboys, Montoya, who had floored Feldt in a tackle, could be heard in the broadcast audio saying “get up Kyle, you f****t”.

Ian Roberts Calls Out NRL For Slow Reaction

Ian Roberts, the first openly gay rugby league player, called out the NRL, New Zealand Warriors, and North Queensland Cowboys following the incident, for their slow reaction time.

Roberts was disappointed that it took the club two days to respond to the slur and cited the Josh Cavallo incident in January as a positive example of what should have been done in this case. In January, Melbourne Victory fans had yelled homophobic abuse at Cavallo during a match. Melbourne Victory immediately condemned the abuse.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Roberts said, “I’m obviously disappointed about the incident, it’s saddening, I understand things are said in the heat of the moment, but there needed to be a quicker response from the clubs and the NRL. 

“To leave it for two days … what was said was very audible over the telecast.”

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