The editor of the leading Parramatta Eels supporters website “1Eyed Eel” claims he has been suspended by the NRL club after images and comments were posted on the site which the club deemed “derogatory towards the directors”.
Philip Sim, whose daytime job is CEO of media intelligence firm MediaConnect Australia, said he has been told he must run an apology on the site for no less than six months for running a photo of Parramatta chairman Roy Spagnolo which depicted him as a puppet-master.
According to Sim, the club has suspended him until he runs the apology and agrees to ensure there is no further negative content posted about the directors of the club.
Sim said that the first he heard of the club’s concerns was when they informed him he would face disciplinary action over the content of the site.
“There were about seven charges, but the only only one that ended sticking was that one of the members posted a satirical cartoon which showed the chairman of the board as a kind of puppet-master over one of the former players,” Sims told Mumbrella.
Two weeks ago Sim attended a disciplinary hearing to face the club. He said this was the first time he has been called before the club in the 10 years he has been running the site.
Sim said is also concerned that club politics may be behind the club’s complaints about the fansite after he made a failed attempt to run for the board.
“It seems very coincidental that I ran for the board and ran a social campaign and it went pretty close to getting up. I don’t know what is running through their minds, but it’s bit of a coincidence that the action happened after that,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Parramatta Eels has rejected Sim’s suggestion that he was suspended. However, the club has yet to reply to repeated requests for official comment.
Sim, a former journalist, said the website was active in preventing defamation and vilification on the website. “We have a terms of service, we abide by Australian law in terms of defamation and copyright and so forth. The comments we allow are within the boundaries of expressions of opinion that every media outlet and social media platform has to abide,” said Sim.
“The club are demanding we go beyond those rule and I’m not prepared to do that.” A petition has been started on Change.org calling on the club to reinstate his membership.