Fresh off leaked photos of NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet dressed in Nazi uniform, the National Rugby League has become embroiled in its’ latest off-season scandal, with footage emerging of a former player and crowd favourite appearing to perform a “Hitler salute”.
Former NRL star Mark “Piggy” Riddell has come under fire after footage surfaced of him doing the Neo-Nazi salute during his playing career, which spanned 10 years playing for St George Illawarra, Parramatta and Sydney Roosters.
Outraged members of the Jewish community and anti-racist activists are demanding Riddell publicly apologise for this display, although the retrieved footage dates from 20 years ago and despite protestations from NRL fans that there was no intended malice in Riddell’s gesture.
Jeremy Krapp-Stein, a prominent anti-racist activist at Sydney University, claims that denial of the gesture’s racist implications is a deflection tactic from far-right groups:
“I’m not a fan of the NRL or of sport in general- apart from a few Swans games I attended back in 2015 to let ‘Goodesie’ know we love him- but everyone can see for themselves that Riddell was clearly doing a fascist salute for the whole crowd to see- and he did it multiple times. It’s on the NRL to demand he apologises to the Jewish community for the pain and suffering he undoubtedly caused every Jewish person who had to witness it. He owes an apology to every holocaust survivor, veteran and their families, as such a salute is literal hate-speech, which is the same as literally murdering 6 million people.”
Krapp-Stein also recommended every NRL fan show their support by visiting the Sydney Jewish Museum, to “recommit” themselves to ensuring the historical events of the holocaust don’t take place again. “Letting a hand gesture go unpunished by the full force of the law is how the descent into outright fascism begins”.
Former student, now fundraiser for Bondi’s Yeshiva College, Emmanual Dreydal, also took issue with Riddell’s goal-kicking gesture. “It did used to bother me, but that’s because as a Roosters fan it just felt like he was rubbing it in after the Dragons scored against us and Blacklock would do his backflips like a show-pony. They were a bunch of thugs too back then, Jason Ryles alone should’ve been suspended permanently from about the middle of 2001”.
Dreydal disagreed, however, with the sinister undertones suggested of Riddell’s salute. “He was just using it as a guide to slot the conversion, the crowd loved it and it caught on from there. Thousands of people on the hill with their arm outstretched, and not one of them ever asked me for my papers as I walked out. Imagine that?”
Some unlikely sources, however, agree that Riddell’s salute was clearly implicit support for the infamous dictator.
“I always knew there was a reason I loved Piggy” says Dragons fanatic and Neo-Nazi Ross “Skull” May, in between biting out of a cold meat pie. “Straight up bloke that, not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve and put his hand up for what he believes. He was dead right too, mate- the countries gone soft since then. Just look at how Rupert Murdoch and the Asian invasion has taken this once glorious land of ours to the dogs. If ‘Piggy’ ever runs for office he’s got my vote- clearly he knows what the final solution is to put this nation right again.” Mr May then lamented “My only regret about Piggy’s career is he wasn’t with us for that Premiership in 2010. That and he didn’t finish with a career points total of 1,488”.
Morgana De Lucci