Nic Berry Reveals Heavy Number of Racial ‘Character Murder’

Australian rugby referee Nic Berry has spoken at a World Rugby event about the torment and “distress” caused by Rassie Erasmus in a 62-minute video of rugby officials.

Erasmus, South Africa’s rugby director, got a two-month ban from all rugby action on Thursday and an 11-month match day action as his video went public.

The decision by the World Rugby Independent Panel revealed the stress the incident had caused Berry, who had acted in the British and Irish Lions Test matches against Sprinbgboks at the heart of Erasmus complaints. World Rugby said Erasmus and SA Rugby had not acknowledged the “human cost” of his actions.

“Needless to say, the whole situation has been an extremely difficult time for my family and me,” Berry told the panel.

: Referee Nic Berry in action at the Autumn Nations Series match between Wales and Fiji at Princeality Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Image via Ian Cook - CameraSport Getty Images)

Nic Berry (photo: Ian Cook – CameraSport via Getty Images)

“As a match judge, I understand that our performances will be scrutinized, especially in such a prestigious tournament. However, a public attack on my honesty and character is not something that should be tolerated in any workplace.

“I thought working on a Lions tour was comparable to the World Cup. The appointment is an honor that few achieve. However, because of the actions of Mr Erasmus, my family and I have endured a considerable amount of distress, and we have only negative memories of the whole experience.

“I feel like Mr Erasmus was involved in a character murder on social media. I have been trying to build my reputation as an international referee for several years, and during his video posted online, Mr Erasmus has caused him immeasurable damage.


“While a small portion of the rugby community is following the outcome of this case and at the same time getting an accurate picture of what really happened, the wider rugby community is only aware of me in the context of this event.

“I feel that regardless of the outcome and the sanctions imposed, my reputation as a referee and a person will be tarnished forever.”

Berry denied Erasmus’s allegations in a video of the events
within three days after the first test.

“Throughout this ordeal, I have maintained my professionalism despite having been the target of an unprecedented personal attack on the media,” Berry said.

“I felt that the Erasmus video questioned my professionalism and honesty as a match referee and it could be inferred that I cheated in some way as a referee, which is obviously absolutely true.

“My reputation throughout the rugby community has suffered immeasurably from his actions, and I acknowledge that the impending investigation is likely to lead to more public scrutiny and unwanted media attention.

“However, his actions are contrary to everything our game represents and I think it is important to oppose such behavior. I sincerely hope that the outcome of the independent judicial consultation will set a precedent to prevent similar behavior in the future so that no one has to experience what I have in recent weeks. “

Reflecting on Berry’s statement, World Rugby was concise and pointed out that Berry had not yet received an apology.

“We don’t need any more words,” the panel’s response read. “It simply came to our notice then [Erasmus’] behavior. That is the price he and SARU have not yet recognized.

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