The NRL are investigating a racist comment made against Sydney Roosters fullback Latrell Mitchell.
Mitchell took to social media to share a screenshot of the racial slur, where the commenter claimed they’d laugh if Latrell’s neck was broken. He posted the screenshot on Instagram with the following caption.
“it’s just a game of footy. There is not (sic) need for comments like this. Shit like this is disappointing. 2019 an (sic) nothing is changing.”
Disgraceful. The wider community needs to start calling this out.— Joel Thompson (@joel_thompson12) August 11, 2019
This shit needs to stop. pic.twitter.com/lCYrnk6V0D
The comments come just days after Latrell shared the following Instagram post, discussing his gratitude for the opportunity to play NRL and his goal to change the way Indigenous athletes are viewed.
Thankfully, the NRL and his fellow players have rallied around him, with fellow indigenous footballer Joel Thompson and chief executive Todd Greenberg publicly standing up for him.
“Racism must be called out in all its forms because the standard you walk past is the standard you accept,” Greenberg said. “I commend Latrell for doing just that. These comments are disgusting and have no place in our game.”
According to NRL.com, Mitchell is one of several players who were targeted in online racist attacks over the weekend.
Latrell’s team, the Sydney Roosters, are aware of the issue but have decided to let the NRL lead the investigation. The league will investigate the alleged racist and his club ties to hopefully ban him from attending matches.
“What I love about rugby league is the diverse cultures and backgrounds it brings together. The heritage of our players is what makes our game so special,” Todd Greenberg continued.
Unfortunately this isn’t the first instance of online racism we’ve seen in sport this year, with Allen Christensen, Patrick Ryder and Liam Ryan also facing abuse.
Although this story absolutely sucks and racism is terrible, it’s great to see the NRL being so vocal and proactive about the issue. Rugby League Players’ Association boss Ian Prendergast has also publicly backed Mitchell for speaking up on such an important matter.
“Hopefully we see a trend in towards this type of behaviour that is completely unacceptable being called out as well,” he said.
Whether it’s AFL, NRL or any other sport, just don’t be a dickhead. Actually. Scratch that. Just don’t be a dickhead at all. Racism sucks.