Racist troll targets Latrell Mitchell
SYDNEY Roosters coach Trent Robinson says Latrell Mitchell is regularly being racially abused, labelling as a "coward" the keyboard warrior who has vilified his star centre on Instagram.
The NRL integrity unit has vowed to track down the online troll and ban him from rugby league grounds.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg described the comments "disgusting".
Jeff Maddock, who is believed to be a Parramatta fan, posted: "F … en oath. I wish some one (sic) would break that filthy black maggot Latrell Mitchell black neck I would laugh my guts up."
Mitchell responded: "It's just a game of footy. There is no need for comments like this. Shit like this is disappointing - 2019 and nothing is changing."
On his Instagram account, named King Percy, Mitchell also posted: "Can't believe this kind of shit is still going on. This bloke (Maddock) supports Parra. I bet he cheers on Fergo (Eels winger Blake Ferguson) when he goes over for tries for them tho (sic)."
Robinson told The Daily Telegraph: "I see them as cowards. Racism against Latrell, this isn't a one-off, this happens often to Latrell and some of the other indigenous boys.
"It's an unacceptable blemish that constantly happens and people like Latrell have to constantly deal with it. It's racist.
"The idea of sitting behind your mobile phone screen and saying those things - you can't use that platform for racism.
"I have seen Latrell be attacked racially in front of my own eyes and I have seen the way the man reacts in a strong way and the right way.
"Latrell is a strong man but it's not OK and he shouldn't have to continually deal with it and then steel himself against it and work on it himself.
"It's the people doing it who should have to work on it. Latrell shouldn't have to stand there and listen to that stuff.
"The constant, casual racism being used is having an effect on these guys. It hasn't changed how the narrative should be in society. It's frustrating for me to watch these guys go through it.
"What we expect of them is to get strong, ignore it and move on, but if you ignore it then these people will continue to do it.
"If someone like him (Maddock) is writing it then there are another 10 thinking it. So who is fighting the fight for the guys that are being racially abused, which is often, because of the way someone plays the sport?
"We don't want to pass this on. This needs to be gone in a generation and if people like this don't get called out, which Latrell has done, then we will just allow it to be normal and to continue and it's not normal."
Robinson contacted Mitchell immediately after seeing the comments.
"My first thought was to make sure he was OK and the second thought was anger that someone could feel comfortable writing that on a message board," Robinson said.
"What in Sunday's game (against Canberra) - or what in your life - makes you attack someone you don't know in that way.
"Indigenous people have to get on with life but there's still an undercurrent of our society that says it's OK to be casually racist online because it doesn't really matter. Well it does, it matters a lot."
The NRL integrity unit has vowed to track down the troll and take severe action, which would include a ban from matches and tearing up his club membership.
Indigenous star South Sydney's Cody Walker was immediately supportive of Mitchell.
"No one wants to see that in our game or society in general. I spoke to Latrell and I support what ever stand he makes I'll be by his side," Walker said.
"I'm OK if someone isn't a fan of a team or a player but when it comes to racial slurs and personal threats it crosses a boundary that no one should accept."
Indigenous friends of Mitchell were attempting to contact the star player to offer support.
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
Greenberg said: "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.
"These comments are disgusting and have no place in our game. There is no place for any sort of abuse on social media towards our players or their families.
"What I love about rugby league are the diverse cultures and backgrounds it brings together."
NRL officials are aware Maddock may be a keyboard warrior trolling famous sports people under a false name, making him difficult to locate.
Manly forward Joel Thompson, who is also indigenous posted on Twitter: "Disgraceful. The wider community needs to start calling this out. This shit needs to stop."
Earlier this year, Mitchell told The Daily Telegraph: "Me and my brothers grew up with it (racism) and for me coming up I knew I always had a thick skin about that stuff.
"I've witnessed it, I've experienced it. It's still going on and it needs to stop."
Mitchell had a strong game for the Sydney Roosters on Sunday but was jeered by sections of the Canberra crowd over his running battle throughout the match with Raiders forward John Bateman.
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