Buzz: NRL panic over Latrell’s anthem bombshell
Another weekend and another round of Latrell Mitchell controversy.
This time NRL boss Todd Greenberg has had to personally intervene to delete explosive quotes from Latrell's wide-ranging interview on nrl.com which raised racial discrimination concerns around the NSW Blues State of Origin team.
In the original version of the interview, published on Saturday afternoon, Latrell declared: "NSW went real funny on us because we don't sing the anthem," referring to himself, Cody Walker and Josh Addo-Carr.
A furious NSW Rugby League chief executive Dave Trodden immediately contacted Greenberg and threatened to take legal action.
The offending quote was quickly removed from the website.
The Blues management believe the comment is defamatory and have sought legal advice.
Mitchell's club the Sydney Roosters is also concerned that the star centre broke the club's media protocols by doing the interview without seeking their approval.
Trodden is also upset about Latrell's comments that Blues coach Brad Fittler had not contacted him to explain his axing from the team after losing the opening game of the series.
"I didn't get told what I needed to work on," Latrell said. "He (Freddy) said he was going to ring me and he still hasn't rang me."
The Blues have asked Fittler not to comment on the story to inflame the situation any further.
Trodden, however, denies this is the case and has attacked the NRL for not checking the facts.
"This has been addressed previously," he said.
"We're particularly disappointed that the interview on the NRL website contained a number of really serious inaccuracies with suggestions Freddy had made no attempt to contact Latrell.
"This to my knowledge is totally false. He has made many attempts to contact Latrell and has picked him in our State of Origin squad for Thursday and Friday of next week.
"We're also disappointed the governing body of the game would allow publication of an interview like this one with damaging running commentary about our organisation that is seriously inaccurate.
"We were given no opportunity to respond to the comments or correct the inaccuracies."
The inflammatory remarks aside, the interview with Latrell was a very good one.
We actually found out that, deep down, he does not want to leave the Sydney Roosters.
"The Roosters is my home, I've been there since I was 15 and got an opportunity to play and build myself into the player I am today.
"I just want to see what else is out there. I'm entitled to."
Sadly it's too late. The Roosters have now spent the $800,000 of the cap they had originally put aside for Latrell.
He and his close friend, boxing promoter Matt Rose, are expected to meet Roosters boss Nick Politis in the next few days.
Politis is not angry at Latrell. He was more hurt that, during the finals, the champion centre went to the home of the Canterbury Bulldogs Leagues Club chairman George Coorey to talk about future opportunities.
He will not slam the door shut on Latrell when they meet.
In fact he hopes one day that Latrell might even return to the Roosters.