Leeds Rhinos player banned for five matches
An independent tribunal has imposed a five-match suspension on Leeds Rhinos player Zak Hardaker after finding him guilty of the Grade E charge of using verbal abuse based on sexual preference in a Super League match against Warrington Wolves at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday May 30.
Hardaker pleaded guilty to the offence but denied aiming his remarks at a match official and claimed he was unaware of the connotations of his remarks.
The tribunal accepted that the player is not homophobic but were satisfied that the remarks were made to the match official.
In handing down a five-match ban and £300 fine, the tribunal took into consideration the player’s contrition, his guilty plea and evidence that he is undertaking voluntary work within the LGBT community.