Former Kiwis coach Graham Lowe has come out in defence of Auckland Rugby League chairman Cameron McGregor after the head of a rival suitor for the Warriors accused him of racism.
Hawaiian politician and businessman Richard Fale is the CEO of a Tongan-US consortium competing with the ARL to buy the NRL club from Eric Watson.
Lowe on Thursday rejected claims made by Fale that McGregor had told him he was against Pacific Islanders owning the Warriors, and that he would look to send the best of Auckland's junior players to Australian clubs if the foreign bid is successful.
Lowe, who has been assisting the ARL in their efforts to claim ownership of the Auckland franchise, slammed Fale's comments as a disgrace and said McGregor was anything but a racist.
"It's an absolute disgrace he's suggesting Cameron McGregor is a racist," Lowe told Radio Sport.
"He hasn't got a racist bone in his body and anyone who knows anything about Cameron or the McGregor family will back up that he's done so much to help Polynesian people, particularly with his ties to the Richmond Rovers club and then further along as chairman of the Auckland Rugby League."
Lowe dismissed the credentials of Fale's consortium, which involves a pair of former NFL players and Super Bowl-winning brothers, Ma'ake and Chris Kemoeatu, saying they have no understanding of rugby league.
Lowe also detailed how a lengthy phone conversation with Fale left him sceptical of the group's intentions and whether they were genuine about meeting Watson's reported asking price of $24 million.
"He had that politician talk about him but it came through straight away that you didn't know which part of his story to believe.
"But it was quite evident to me after talking to him for an hour and eight minutes on the phone, that it would be a huge mistake if he ever got ownership of the Warriors and that's got nothing to do with race.
"We finished on a friendly note but he came across to me to be the sort of guy who would love to get this sort of publicity in America, but it's very easy to come down here as an American and become world famous in New Zealand."
Lowe also denied further claims made by Fale, that the Warriors' strong performances through the opening rounds of the NRL season were in some way inspired by the prospect of Polynesian ownership.
"This guy is just talking through a hole in his head," Lowe said.
"If he thinks this is a racial issue, if he thinks this is Polynesians against the rest, if he thinks that the Warriors players are inspired or less inspired by one thing that's in the media, he's got no idea."
Lowe was previously a part-owner of the Warriors during the Tainui era (1999-2000) and firmly believes the ARL are the right organisation to take control of the Penrose-based club and provide a pathway for New Zealand's amateur players to make the step up into the NRL.
Both the ARL and Fale's syndicate have been engaged in negotiations with Watson's representatives for months but it remains unclear when a deal with either party will be completed.
"The Auckland Rugby League are in the absolute ideal position to be able to take over the ownership because it's a perfect pathway from amateur to professional.
"In all areas of the game there will be argument that that's already in place now, well it's not. There's no pathway. There's a few players that come through every now and then but there is a time now to be able to do it properly.
"And if they can come to a deal, which I think they're getting pretty close to, I think it will be a perfect marriage."
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