The governing body’s comments have been supported by Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington after Griffiths revealed he received a number of homophobic messages in the wake of Leeds’ game at Huddersfield Giants.
The Betfred Super League match, which Rhinos lost 21-12, featured several controversial moments, including a drop goal by Giants’ Jake Connor which players from both sides felt had missed the target.
In a post on social media, the full-time referee shared a screenshot of abusive messages from one account, which included threats to a member of his family and the comment “die Griffiths die”.
The RFL released a statement in support of Griffiths this afternoon (Tuesday). It said: “The Rugby Football League stands behind Marcus Griffiths, one of the full-time panel of elite match officials, as he highlights the disgraceful, homophobic abuse he has received on social media.
“Tony Sutton, the RFL chief executive, has written to all professional clubs today stressing the importance of observing the sport’s Tackle It policy and Respect code of conduct in supporting match officials.”
Sutton was quoted as saying: “All in the sport will condemn the appalling abuse which Marcus Griffiths has received on social media.
“We will provide support to Marcus through Rugby League Cares and have worked with him in alerting the relevant authorities, whether digital or law-enforcement.
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“We would urge all involved in the sport, whether at clubs or even in the media, to consider the consequences of their words and actions.
“Homophobic abuse is a hate crime and punishable by law. We want to be clear that any kind of discriminatory abuse is not welcome in our sport and we will take the strongest possible action against perpetrators who can be identified.
“Our match officials work under intense scrutiny and pressure. We owe it to them as a governing body, and also as a sport, to support them at all times.”
It is not clear if the individual responsible for the abuse is a Rhinos fan. However, Hetherington stressed the club “fully support the stance set out by the RFL in their statement”.
He added: “These types of comments damage our sport and any fair minded rugby league fan should be opposed to them.”
The YEP understands the club will take action - including a ban from Headingley Stadium - if any evidence is produced to confirm the individual is a Rhinos supporter.