No apology is necessary
Tahu stands firm on alleged racial slur as he announces one- year deal with Panthers
CONTROVERSIAL dual international Timana Tahu is adamant he will not apologise for a racial slur he says he never made.
Tahu and the NRL confirmed yesterday the former Parramatta and Newcastle star will reboot his turbulent career with Penrith on a contract covering the rest of 2011.
The 30-year-old left the Eels at the end of last year under a cloud following a troubled seas o n o v e r s h a d o wed b y t wo racism rows.
One of those, an allegation Tahu racially abused a 16-yearold at an indigenous knockout, remains unresolved.
‘‘ I’m not going to apologise for something that I haven’t done, that I haven’t said,’’ Tahu said at Centrebet Stadium yesterday.
‘‘ I’ve got no hard feelings against the young kid but I’m not going to apologise.’’
Tahu was saying little else about the furore after Panthers coach Matt Elliott interjected when a j ournalist asked a second question. ‘‘ I think that’s enough. I think that’s a really good, articulate response to that question,’’ Elliott said.
’’. . . I know there’s some other things that you guys will have to probe into, but that’s not the purpose of this just at the moment.’’
NRL boss David Gallop again expressed his preference for the matter being resolved but said legal advice meant the league would register Tahu’s contract.
‘‘ There have been a number of attempts to achieve this ( resolution) but in the end we have two parties each committed to conflict i ng versions of t he event,’’ Gallop said.
‘‘ It is a matter that the department of human rights and equal opportunities have worked through without resolving and one that was outside of our jurisdiction under the current structure.
‘‘ We have taken Senior Counsel’s advice on that today and it appears we are not able to take it any further.’’
P a n t h e r s c h i e f e x e c u t i v e Michael Leary did not rule out Tahu – who is part Aboriginal and part Maori – still sitting down with the 16-year-old at the centre of the complaint, young Brisbane Broncos recruit Caleb Binge.
‘‘ He’s quite happy to attend any hearing that may occur in the future,’’ Leary said.
Tahu will begin trying to convince Elliott he is fit enough for the NRL – following an offseason of training alone – when he joins his new teammates at training on Monday.
The former NSW State of Origin, Kangaroos and Wallabies representative dodged questions about the reasons he quit the Eels after asking the club for most of the pre-season off for personal reasons.
But he did say his time away had helped.
‘‘ It hasn’t been hard at all,’’ he said. ‘‘ There was a lot of speculation and a lot of lies that were written about me. I was just happy being home with the kids and training until Penrith came along with an offer.’’