The Rugby Football League has confirmed it is investigating claims made by Swinton player, Jose Kenga that he was racially abused by Toronto’s David Argyle. The Wolfpack owner has apologised ‘unreservedly’ following the incident.
Kenga posted a statement on Twitter on Thursday evening which said that, after the Lions’ trip to Canada earlier this season, Argyle approached him and asked: “Do they allow black people in Swinton?” And now the RFL has revealed that its compliance department has opened an official investigation, confirming: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to racist behaviour of any type.”
His statement in full reads: “I have remained silent about the racial abuse I suffered while in Canada in April at the hands of Toronto Wolfpack owner David Argyle. I have gone about things the right way, but I feel that I need to speak up.
“After the match I approached my team-mate, who happened to be talking to the owner. As I got close, he looked and said ‘do they allow black people in Swinton?’ And he laughed.
“Jack (Hansen) and I looked at each other and we were shocked. I said, `You can’t say that in this day and age,’ and he just laughed, brushed it off and handed over a drink token to me.
“This is not a matter that should be swept under the carpet. People who are racist ought to be held accountable for their actions. I have never felt so little in my life and can’t believe that people can still have such a racist mind.
“To make the comment is one thing but to laugh it off is another, that made me feel powerless. There’s no room for intolerance, ignorance or racism.”
Argyle responded later in the evening via Toronto’s official social media, confirming that he had fallen short on the standards he and the Wolfpack pride themselves upon, and apologising for the incident.
“As soon as I was made aware of Jose Kenga’s tweet relating to our conversation after the match in Toronto on 28th April 2019, I reached out to the Swinton Lions senior management team.
“I have requested to speak directly to Jose and apologize personally for my words, which I hope to do as soon as possible. I deeply regret making Jose feel terrible, and must stress that it was never my intention to do so.
“We take great pride in making Toronto an amazing experience for all travelling teams and their loyal fans. We try to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome.
“However, that day I fell short on delivering those standards. I take full responsibility and I want to unreservedly apologize to Jose, Swinton Lions, Toronto Wolfpack and our great fans for my comments. Since 2018 I have always maintained that Swinton Lions are the best touring fans we have ever hosted here, and I will do all I can to rebuild my relationship with the club, players, Jose and their fans.”
Swinton host Toronto on Sky Sports this coming Sunday.