The NRL is investigating allegations a match official was also the victim of a homophobic slur as part of its inquiry into the racial abuse levelled at Greg Inglis at Penrith on Saturday.
Inglis spoke for the first time about the matter on Wednesday, labelling any racism in society as “appalling” as the NRL continues to try and hunt down the offender.
It can also be revealed the NRL’s investigation has extended into looking at alleged homophobic remarks directed at match officials after the game.
“The integrity unit has already begun looking at those allegations as part of the current investigation,” a spokesman for the NRL told AAP.
NRL officials have started poring over evidence following a meeting with the club and police on Tuesday, with the match official targeted by the derogatory remark also spoken to as part of the investigation.
Included are witness accounts from security guards, fans sitting around the tunnel and footage of the players and officials leaving the ground after Penrith’s 18-14 win over South Sydney.
Penrith supremo Phil Gould also confirmed on Wednesday that the club are also taking action and handing long suspensions to a number of patrons following their own investigation.
It’s understood there have been a number of conflicting reports from those in the vicinity of the tunnel, complicating the matter further.
Rabbitohs centre Dane Gagai was also believed to be yelled at as he exited the playing field, but it’s unlikely the NRL will take that any further as it was not considered discriminatory.
The league is at this stage not putting any time limit on handing down its findings.
Inglis declined to speak specifically about the matter when asked at Wednesday’s State of Origin ticket launch in Queensland, but hit out at anyone who thought it acceptable to use racist terms in Australia.
“Without a doubt, I think racism in Australian society is appalling. That’s it, full stop. It has to stop,” he said.
The NRL community has moved to support Inglis in the past week.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg threatened to throw the book at any offender earlier this week, with the most likely punishment being an indefinite ban.
Rabbitohs teammates said their star captain had remained in good spirits despite the alleged remarks, which Inglis claimed earlier this week included him being called a “black dog”.
Inglis’ State of Origin coach Kevin Walters, who on Wednesday confirmed the centre would return to his team this year, also called for a life ban for the offender.
“We’ve got a guy who does so much for the indigenous community and Australia, and people come up with that sort of nonsense,” Walters said.
“It’s just not acceptable … It shouldn’t be tolerated.
“Surely, it’s just unacceptable that sort of behaviour in any sport, let along rugby league.”