AAP Rugby

Mitchell speaks as NRL eye bans for racism

By AAP Newswire

Latrell Mitchell has spoken out against racist trolls as the NRL warned any fan who vilified a player online faced bans from attending matches.

Mitchell broke his silence on the matter on Wednesday night, days after publishing vile comments made against him on social media.

The star Roosters centre said he had also previously been a victim of racism, and that he would continue to out any person who abused him in such a way.

"For everything that's been going on the past couple of days has been so hard for my family and I," Mitchell posted on Instagram.

"But it wouldn't be the first time that this has happened. I would really love to take the time to thank everyone that sent me a message.

"There is no place for racism. It is 2019 I am a proud aboriginal man and I will continue to name and shame anyone that has an opinion against me or my race.

"I have had enough, we cannot keep allowing this 'casualness' to happen.

"Wake up Australia and stop being ignorant and just embrace everyone for who they are!"

Mitchell's comments come as the NRL continues to investigate the initial post made against the star Sydney Roosters centre on Facebook on Sunday.

It also emerged on Wednesday that Blake Ferguson was also racially vilified earlier this season, with the NSW winger alerting Parramatta to the offensive messages.

Club bosses on Wednesday discussed the issue at the NRL's CEOs meeting, and backed a stance to ban any person who racially abuses a player online from games.

"We've got an opportunity as a sport, to stand up and stand for something," NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said.

"And when we see it, we'll call it out.

"If we can find ways to make sure they're unwelcome in the game, whether that's a membership, simply buying a ticket, we'll do that.

"It's not easy (to find them). But we'll put some resources into it where we can.

"We've got a pretty sophisticated system in our integrity unit. We've got some smart people, and if we find them, we'll do something about it."

The NRL has previously banned fans who have racially abused players at grounds, most recently last season at Penrith after a slur made against Greg Inglis.

Greenberg also rejected suggestions players should simply avoid social media as a means to escape such online abuse.

"I've heard people say in recent days that the simple thing to tell our players is simply stay off social media. That's not the answer," Greenberg said.

"Social media is a part of the next generation, whether we like it or not. And some of that's very difficult for some young athletes to deal with.

"We're not going to stand by and allow our athletes to be racially vilified."