NRL star James Tedesco apologises to Vietnamese-Aussie woman he shouted 'Squid Games!' at when drunk


Footy star who shouted ‘Squid Game’ at a young Vietnamese woman outside a nightclub breaks his silence on the incident

  • James Tedesco denied yelling ‘Squid Games’ at Aussie-Vietnamese woman
  • The NRL later fined him $10,000 over ‘drunken’ incident, cleared of racism 
  • The Roosters skipper apologised to Tiffany Trinh, expressed ‘disappointment’


A leading Australian rugby league player has apologised for drunkenly yelling ‘Squid Games’ at a young woman of Asian appearance, but maintained he is ‘a great role model’.

James Tedesco, 29, was cleared of racist behaviour but fined $10,000 for bringing the game into disrepute after an NRL Integrity Unit investigation into the October 21 incident.

Witnesses saw Tedesco shout the name of the hit South Korean Netflix drama at a Tiffany Trinh, 20 outside Bondi’s Beach Road Hotel less than a month after he was named the NRL captain of the year.

James Tedesco, who was cleared of racist behaviour but fined $10,000 for bringing the game into disrepute, has apologised over the October 21 incident in which he yelled 'Squid Game!' at a woman of Asian appearance

James Tedesco, who was cleared of racist behaviour but fined $10,000 for bringing the game into disrepute, has apologised over the October 21 incident in which he yelled ‘Squid Game!’ at a woman of Asian appearance

Ms Trinh later told her family when her outraged sister penned an open letter to the NRL skipper and posted it to her Instagram

Ms Trinh later told her family when her outraged sister penned an open letter to the NRL skipper and posted it to her Instagram

When he was called out for the sledge, Tedesco replied ‘Do you know who I am?’ 

Trinh, who is of Vietnamese descent, made an official complaint to NRL after her sister Katherine angrily posted about the incident on Instagram.

‘She was shocked, and in the moment, was too embarrassed to say anything because you were with a group of footy players,’ Katherine Trinh posted.

The Roosters and NSW Blues skipper told Nine newspapers he had reached out to Ms Trinh to apologise and was ‘disappointed’ in himself ‘as a leader and role model’.

But Tedesco added he was ‘happy’ with how he approached it and settled the matter. 

‘I know I’m a great role model but I know I can improve because I don’t want to have any stuff-ups or wrongdoing towards our club,’ he said.

‘It was more about owning up to that and taking responsibility.’

He plans to ‘be more responsible’ in future and ‘set a good example’ for younger players. 

After the Roosters spoke to Tedesco over the Trinh sisters’ claims, it issued a statement denying any interaction with Tiffany Trinh and ‘categorically denying that anything untoward occurred’.

Roosters captain James Tedesco showed 'Squid Game' at a Vietnamese-Australian woman (pictured, Tedesco with partner Maria Glinellis)

Roosters captain James Tedesco showed ‘Squid Game’ at a Vietnamese-Australian woman (pictured, Tedesco with partner Maria Glinellis)

Tedesco, the NRL captain of the year in 2021, says he remains a 'great role model' and set a better example for young players

Tedesco, the NRL captain of the year in 2021, says he remains a ‘great role model’ and set a better example for young players

The NRL investigation in November found Tedesco had brought the game into disrepute and behaved ‘in a drunken and disorderly manner’. 

Ms Trinh was waiting for a lift with a friend when Tedesco and a group approached them. 

‘It was a group of about ten footy boys, and I was pretty intimidated,’ she told Nine newspapers.

‘A 20-year-old tiny girl, waiting for a lift home and you have a bunch of guys come up to you and laugh at you for being Asian.’

She later said it was obvious Tedesco was directing his comments at her, which she took as ‘a joke about [my] race’. 

The Roosters kick off their 2022 season on March 12 against the Knights with Tedesco again the team’s captain.

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