Rugby has always been a physical sport. When a scrum is a common component of the sport, the game is going to have lots of collisions. Even with the physical nature of rugby, Nico Lee managed to get himself suspended by blowing a snot rocket at an opponent.
The South African blew his booger at Connacht flanker Colby Fainga’a during an international Pro14 league game. Lee was not punished for his actions during the game but had to attend a disciplinary hearing after the game.
During the hearing, Lee acknowledged that he blew a snot rocket at Fainga’a during the game and has apologized for his actions. The South African, however, did not apologize to the Connacht flanker for hitting him with his snot.
The disciplinary committee handed Lee a 13-week suspension, effectively suspending the South African for the rest of the season. Lee will be unable to play rugby for the Cheetahs until July 21, unless he is able to win an appeal for the suspension.
It will be hard for Lee to win an appeal as the disciplinary panel released a statement about Lee’s action.
Cheetahs player Nico Lee banned for 13 weeks after he "accepted that he had cleared the contents of his nose onto the face of an opposing player." pic.twitter.com/bpXRqT0L6l
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) February 20, 2019
“It is difficult to imagine how an act of foul play of this sort could be worse, save for repeated acts or where actual injury is caused,” the disciplinary panel said.
Fainga’a was completely defenseless during the incident as he was lying on the ground trying to win the ball. Lee was helping his teammate secure the ball when he stood over the Irishman to deliver the booger. The act of blowing your boogers onto an opponent is similar to when you spit at them.
It is a sign of disrespect and an establishment of power in the situation. Lee understood what he was doing when he blew his mucus on Fainga’a and will have to live with the consequences by serving the 13-week suspension.