WE WERE disappointed to hear allegations of homophobic and racial abuse of Welsh referee Nigel Owens by England fans during England v New Zealand at Twickenham, but it’s good to see that the RFU has taken a strong stance by launching an investigation into the incident, supported by Stuart Lancaster in this video.
No one should be subjected to any form of abuse at work, not least any player or referee on the rugby pitch, and there is no place for such behaviour in our sport. In a recent interview with the Telegraph, Owens admitted he has considered walking away from the sport for good as a result of the abuse he has received over time. He said: “When you see things that are tweeted by so-called rugby supporters about opposition teams and some of the tweets that I have had, you begin thinking, ‘Bloody hell, are these type of people really in our game?’ I have had homophobic tweets and messages on Facebook from people who are shouting things that I could not repeat. It is creeping into the game and some of the tweets I have had are pretty nasty, really.
“Sometimes you get these comments and read these tweets and you think, ‘Do I really need this? Do I really need to do this job?’ It does get you down and I honestly think sometimes like saying, ‘Enough is enough, I will walk away from it all.'”