NRL acting CEO Andrew Abdo has promised to enforce the "strongest possible" penalties if spectators are proven to have racially abused Panthers winger Brent Naden.
Abdo confirmed an investigation into the matter, where a group was removed from Central Coast Stadium in the first half of Penrith's win over the Warriors on Friday for allegedly yelling racist comments at the proudly Indigenous Naden, was "well underway".
He flagged the prospect of long spectator bans but said video, audio and eyewitness accounts must be reviewed before a determination.
The NRL is working to establish the identities and whereabouts of the alleged offenders.
"If the allegations are proven to be of a racial nature or vilification nature or of a bullying nature, we'll take the strongest possible action the game can take against those individuals," Abdo said.
"Things like this don't happen that often but they should never happen. When they do happen, we have to act decisively. We have to act in a unified and strong way – and that's what we intend to do.
"It's important for us to know that all our players feel supported, that everyone in the game – whether they're fans or players – feel supported, and that we uphold the standards that are important to us as a rugby league community.
"We'll complete the investigation and we'll take whatever action we deem necessary to make sure that those fans who are proven to act in this way are not able to attend our games going forward.
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"There was a large group of people involved, so we will need to look at all the available evidence and then we'll base the determination on what was said and what can be proven.
"But we've proven in the past – and we've acted similarly in the past – that we will take strong action and that may include excluding fans for a long period of time."
A Penrith official understood the group in question allegedly began abusing Naden while the Panthers were attacking the Warriors.
After seeing Naden relay what was happening to trainer Hayden Knowles, the spectators then allegedly followed him near the halfway line and continued.
Abdo has spoken with Naden and commended the 24-year-old for taking a stand.
"He obviously has the support of his team but more importantly he has the support of the entire rugby league community," Abdo said.
"I think the response following this incident shows just how we feel about matters like this and I think he appreciates that.
"But he's a human being and I'm sure he feels rattled. He knows that there are different ways in which we can support him through this and our investigative team has been working with him."
The South African-born chief executive said "it's a privilege to live in Australia … it's the reason why my family and I moved [here]" and reiterated that everyone has a right to feel safe.
He was adamant the NRL community was united against discrimination.
"What we'll have to do is work incident by incident and eradicate people whose values we don't stand for," he said.
Meanwhile, Abdo said new Warriors advisor Brett Finch has been removed from the team's bubble and will undergo COVID-19 testing after being found to have breached biosecurity rules. Disciplinary action will be considered.
An investigation into a biosecurity breach by a large group of Broncos players earlier this month is expected to conclude in the coming days. Abdo suggested suspensions or fines – or both – could be the outcome.