Rugby: Chiefs address alleged verbal abuse of parking wardens

Chiefs rugby players have allegedly verbally abused two female parking wardens after a training session.

The Hamilton City Council wardens were allegedly yelled at after ticketing two vehicles outside the grounds where the Chiefs had been training, Newshub reports.

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The allegations come after last year's stripper scandal, in which Chiefs players were accused of abusing a woman during a Mad Monday drinking session.

An investigation exonerated players of any blame, but New Zealand Rugby issued them a formal warning which will sit as a "black mark" on their record.

Dave Rennie, Chiefs Rugby Club Head Coach has released a video statement on yesterday's incident.

"The team were at a training yesterday at a public park where some team members had parked cars and received parking tickets."

He said Hamilton City Council had raised with the teams' management that "inappropriate comments" were made as some team members were leaving.

"The team has been questioned today and say while their comments were not directed at the parking wardens, they apologise sincerely for any distress caused."

The players, who have not yet been identified, allegedly called the women "c***s", Newshub reports.

The Chiefs have been in discussion with Hamilton City Council and "wholeheartedly support them in their stance against poor behaviours against any of their staff," Rennie said.

Hamilton City Council said it was aware of an incident yesterday morning during which two parking wardens were subjected to verbal abuse by some players associated with a Chiefs training.

"I have today spoken with the two female wardens and firstly, I would like to commend them on their dignity, integrity and the professionalism with which they, and the rest of our regulatory staff, perform their jobs under often-trying conditions," said acting council chief executive Kelvyn Eglinton.

"Sadly, abuse of our staff in these situations is all-too-common.

"They have a tough job, but they do it well and people often don't realise the benefits they bring. Most people treat them with respect, but there is a minority of people who believe it is okay to demean and abuse parking wardens."

Eglintin said staff had issued a warning notice to one vehicle and an infringement notice to another near Steele Park.

"They were then abused by some of the players in the area. These comments would have been clearly heard by other people in the area, and in fact one member of the public approached our wardens to see if they were okay.

"We have had discussions with representatives of the Chiefs organisation who have expressed their extreme disappointment at the behaviour of those involved. They have also expressed a desire to apologise personally to the wardens involved."

He said the wardens wanted to put the incident behind them.

"We support them, we are comfortable we have addressed this issue thoroughly and at this time will not be making further comment on the incident."

Last August, allegations were made that members of the Chiefs rugby team inappropriately touched, licked and threw alcohol and gravel at a stripper.

The following month, New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew announced the result of its investigation, which involved the interviewing of players, several independent witnesses and the woman hired for the 2016 celebrations.

The results found that while the performance was legal and consensual, it was wholly inappropriate for professional rugby teams to engage in events of this nature and players should take collective responsibility.

Chiefs' management was also criticised, with the investigators finding they should have worked more closely with the players to ensure the end of year functions were managed appropriately.

- NZ Herald

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