Mam proud of stance on slur, prepared to meet Leniu

Joel Gould |

Ezra Mam looks for a Broncos teammate in the match against the Sydney Roosters in ​Las Vegas.
Ezra Mam looks for a Broncos teammate in the match against the Sydney Roosters in ​Las Vegas.

Brisbane five-eighth Ezra Mam has no regrets about calling out Spencer Leniu’s racial slur in Las Vegas and says he is prepared to meet with the Sydney Roosters prop when the time is right.

Mam, a proud Torres Strait Islander, spoke for the first time on Tuesday since Leniu called him a monkey in the round-one clash. 

He will miss Saturday night’s away clash with Wests Tigers with a finger injury.

Mam made an official complaint about Leniu’s comments on the field. Leniu was subsequently suspended by the NRL judiciary for eight games.

Asked if he had any regrets about the way he handled himself over the matter, Mam said “no'”.

“I just stuck to what my beliefs are and how I was brought up as a strong cultural man,” he said. 

“If there’s anything I’m proud of, it’s my culture, and that’s what I’m going to stick up for. It’s my identity and that’s the reason why I am here.”

Mam rejected an earlier offer from Leniu to meet with him in Brisbane, but said he would be prepared to do so in the future.

Roosters prop Spencer Leniu at the NRL judiciary.
Roosters prop Spencer Leniu was suspended for eight games over the slur. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

“I think when the time is right we will have a chat,” Mam said.

“I appreciate that he wanted to come up and reach out to me. I have moved on from that now and I will probably have a chat to him when I see him, or whenever it is.”

Mam received huge support from the Broncos club and his teammates after the incident, along with current Indigenous stars Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker and past greats Lote Tuqiri and Steve Renouf.

“It was definitely a huge thing for other players to come out on behalf of me and reach out to me,” he said.

“It lifted me up and lifted my spirits up. It’s good to see all the Indigenous and non-Indigenous players reach out to me. I will just play good footy now, it was a long time ago.

“It was a bit tough, but in saying that I am looking forward to being in the present. I’m not going to talk about it anymore. I’ll get on with the season and start playing some good footy.”

Brisbane duo Selwyn Cobbo and Ezra Mam
Brisbane duo Selwyn Cobbo and Ezra Mam will both miss the clash with Wests Tigers due to injury. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

The Broncos received a boost at training on Tuesday with star quartet Adam Reynolds (hamstring), Payne Haas (knee), Brendan Piakura (ankle) and Deine Mariner (back) all training strongly ahead of Saturday’s away clash with Wests Tigers.

“It’s a huge confidence boost for the whole squad,” Mam said, even though he won’t be playing.

Star centre Selwyn Cobbo will also miss the Tigers clash with a shoulder and hip injury. 

Jesse Arthars moves from wing to the centres. Jock Madden, who played half in Reynolds’ absence, is the new No.6 in place of Mam.