Dragons star Corey Norman has ben suspended by the NRL over his alleged involvement in a Sydney street brawl.
The out-of-favour playmaker has also been whacked with a $20,000 fine after an NRL integrity unit investigation found he had acted inappropriately during the alleged scuffle in Cronulla last month.
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The NRL announced in a statement Norman will miss the first round of the season and also has a suspended one-week suspension hanging over his head for any future misdemeanours.
The NRL statement announced Norman has been issued a breach of contract notice.
The Dragons responded to the NRL’s decision with a brief comment.
“The Dragons will work closely with Corey over the coming week to determine a position on the breach notice imposed,” the club said in the statement.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said the severity of the punishment took into account that Norman and former NRL player James Segeyaro had been provoked.
Norman and Segeyaro claimed in a bizarre statement after the incident that the former Penrith hooker was racially abused before the incident occurred.
No charges have been laid over the incident.
“Chicko (Segeyaro) and Corey were involved in an altercation in Cronulla on Friday night,” the statement posted on Norman’s YKTR Instagram page claimed.
“Before the media have their opportunity to do their thing, we wanted to be fully transparent – here’s what happened: The two boys were walking home after a dinner with two females, when they were approached by a group of four men. One of whom began to racially abuse Chicko, calling him the N word.
“An argument ensued, and Corey came in to defuse the situation. He was then blind-sided, and a fight broke out. It had all but broken up when one of them threatened to pull a knife.”
The strange statement made no apology for the actions of Norman and Segeyaro for their involvement in the melee.
“As individuals and as a brand, we will always stand up against racism,” the statement said.
“Sometimes it’s as simple as re-sharing a post of making a video. Other times it means defending yourself. Although we don’t condone violence, if there is a time to fight, then let it be against racism, protecting female company and having your friend’s back.
“Corey let his club know the next morning and we have been in touch with the RLPA regarding the incident.”
The suspension potentially further clouds Norman’s future in the NRL after he was reportedly linked with a trade to the English Super League last year — and was unwanted at the Dragons.
Norman was dropped by former coach Paul McGregor last year and is in the final year of his reported $850,000 per-season contract.