Sydney Roosters’ Spencer Leniu Pleads Guilty & Apologises To Ezra Mam For ‘Monkey’ Comment

Sydney Rooster’s Spencer Leniu has admitted and apologised to Brisbane Bronco’s Ezra Mam — who is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander — for calling him a “monkey” during an NRL Match in Las Vegas on Sunday.

On Thursday Afternoon, Sydney Roosters released a statement announcing that the 23-year-old forward would plead guilty to contrary conduct over his actions on Sunday’s game. Alongside the statement, the Samoan international rugby league player apologised to Mam, his family and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community.

“I want to apologise to Ezra and his family for using the word I did and I am sincerely sorry to cause him such distress,” Leniu said, as per the statement.

“I’ve put my hand up and want to take ownership of this. I said the word but I didn’t mean it in a racist way. Anyone who knows me knows that’s not who I am.”

Roosters CEO Joe Kelly also extended an apology towards the Broncos footy player and added that the club will continue to support Leniu ahead of his hearing.

“Spencer has been completely open and honest throughout this process, and we will continue to support him,” Kelly said.

“We extend our deepest apologies to Ezra, his family and the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and offer our support to all parties during this time.

“We respect the Judiciary process. Accordingly, the Club will not be making any further comment prior to the hearing.”

(Image source: Getty Images / Ezra Shaw)

In response to the Rooster’s official statement, Broncos said it acknowledged the “importance” of the player “taking that step”.

“The Broncos acknowledge Spencer’s apology to Ezra and the importance of taking that step. There is no place for racism in our game or in our society,” the Brisbane club said.

“The Club respects the NRL Judiciary process that is still to play out and we will make no further comment on that.

“Ezra’s wellbeing has been our primary concern from the start. He has been well-supported within our club and we will continue to focus on that in the time ahead.”

What happened between Spencer Leniu and Ezra Mam?

On Sunday night, during the NRL season’s opening clash between the Sydney Roosters and Brisbane Broncos, Mam, 21, accused Leniu of calling him a “monkey” during the game.

In a snippet shared by the official NRL on Nine account (@nrlonnine), Mam can be heard saying that he wants to lodge a formal complaint against the 23-year-old due to his on-field comment.

Per ABC News, in a post-match interview, Leniu labelled the incident as “fun and games”.

It is also alleged that the two players “exchanged words” during a brief interaction at the hotel they were staying at, with witnesses claiming that Leniu was “ushered down” the corridor by staff.

Following the incident, multiple NRL stars backed Mam, including Reece Walsh, Kotoni Staggs, Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker.

Leniu will face an NRL judiciary hearing on Monday night where he could possibly face a two-month ban.