Phil Gould receives support after the NRL's 'futile' $20,000 punishment for rant

The commentator was honest when he let the NRL know what he thinks about some of the rules.

One of the loudest voices in rugby league has urged Phil Gould to maintain the rage in his battle with the NRL as legal experts question the legality of his $20,000 fine imposed on the Bulldogs boss for allegedly bringing the game into disrepute. The NRL hit Gould with a breach notice this week for comments he made on 100% Footy questioning some of rugby league's recent rule changes.

Gus said: "Our game's so stupid. "You can lose the ball over the line and it costs you 20m and seven tackles. Why? I don't know because it's stupid.

Peters Peters have backed Phil Gould (pictured) to continue his outspoken ways as an NRL analyst after he was slapped with a $20,000 fine. (Images: Channel Nine)
Peters Peters have backed Phil Gould (pictured) to continue his outspoken ways as an NRL analyst after he was slapped with a $20,000 fine. (Images: Channel Nine)

"But I can take a line dropout and it goes out on the full, no consequence. What sort of stupid game is this? Who sits and makes up these rules?"

The NRL had previously warned Gould about over-stepping the mark, reminding him he is bound by the code of conduct rules preventing club employees from heavily criticising head office and officials within the game. These latest comments finally pushed the NRL to the brink, with CEO Andrew Abdo slapping Gould with a $20,000 fine ($10,000 suspended).

The decision has gone down like a lead Steeden among fans, who almost unanimously agree with Gus and want him to keep speaking out. Peter Peters, who juggled his role as an official at Manly with his media commitments for more than 30 years, has backed Gould's right to speak his mind and… "This won't shut Gus up and nor should it," Peters told Yahoo Sport Australia.

"If anything, it has empowered him further. There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism and questioning those in power. I never had an issue with (former league bosses) Arko (Ken Arthurson) and (John) Quayle because I was a media person before I was an official. I was able to split the two roles and Gus should be in the same position.

"He's the most influential figure in the game and a lot of what he says is spot on and needs to be said. At a time when many members of the media are happy to toe the NRL line, we need someone like Gus to hold them to account. It’s futile gagging him."

Phil Gould reacts.
Commentator Phil Gould (pictured) copped a fine for his comments about the state of the NRL on Channel Nine.

It might also be illegal. A Sydney lawyer told YSA: "It definitely falls into the area of freedom of speech. If the NRL want to secure his silence/acquiescence, they need to articulate in a specific clause on his contract.

"I'd be happy to talk him through the steps of challenging this." Gould was given five business days to respond and hinted on X he may be up for a fight.

"Thank-you (Radio 2GB's) Ben Fordham for your support. Much appreciated. Thank you also to all of you who have reached out to me personally, or commented on social media, with support. Again, greatly appreciated," he posted along with a love heart emoji.