News

Joanita Wibowo

NRL to investigate racial abuse against Latrell Mitchell

NRL to investigate racial abuse against Latrell Mitchell

The NRL is set to investigate a racist slur made against Latrell Mitchell after the Sydney Roosters star called out the abuse on his Instagram account.

On Sunday, Mitchell posted a screenshot of a Facebook comment from the offender who claimed that “I would laugh my guts up” if the Roosters centre broke his neck.

Mitchell wrote on the post: “It’s just a game of footy. There is not need for comments like this.

“S**t like this is disappointing. 2019 an nothing is changing.”

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mitchell’s father Matt said he became “emotional” when he saw the comment. “When my wife showed me the comments on Sunday night I got emotional about it,” he said.

“I was probably more angry than anything. That’s such an old-school mentality. Australia is multicultural now. There’s no need for it.”

NRL’s chief executive officer Todd Greenberg said the racist comments directed at Mitchell are “disgusting and have no place in our game”.

The NRL Integrity Unit are set to ban the offender from all future games.

“Racism must be called out in all its forms because the standard you walk past is the standard you accept. I commend Latrell for doing just that,” Greenberg said.

“There is no place for any sort of abuse on social media towards our players or their families.”

Numerous players and NRL figures shared Mitchell’s post in support, including fellow Indigenous footballers Wade Graham and Joel Thompson.

Rugby League Players’ Association boss Ian Prendergast also backed Mitchell’s callout.

“We encourage our players to have a voice in terms of telling their stories or about themselves and helping promote the interests of the game generally,” Prendergast said.

“But I think they’ve also got a strong voice in calling out behaviour they think is unacceptable. It can help better protect their fellow players as we've seen in recent times.

“Hopefully we see a trend in towards this type of behaviour that is completely unacceptable being called out as well.”

Mitchell’s incident is the latest case of online abuse against Indigenous sport stars, with AFL players Allen Christensen, Patrick Ryder and Liam Ryan being among those who have been targeted this year.