SYDNEY (AP)The National Rugby League said Friday it is investigating the racial abuse of star South Sydney fullback Latrell Mitchell during a game on Thursday.
Mitchell, who is of Indigenous descent, was verbally abused by a teenage fan wearing a Sydney Roosters jersey. The fan left at halftime of the match which South Sydney lost 16-10 to Penrith at a stadium in western Sydney.
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson apologized to Mitchell on behalf of the Roosters, saying the incident showed greater racial issues within Australia.
Mitchell, who has played 10 test matches for Australia, debuted at the Roosters in 2016 and won two NRL titles with the club before leaving for the Rabbitohs at the end of 2019.
“It’s really disappointing, “Robinson said Friday. “We just don’t represent the Roosters in that way. Whether we like it or not, they were wearing our colors. We have to accept that.
“If you want to act like that, and abuse people racially like that, then that is not who we are. It’s not who we want to be.”
Robinson said he was not surprised by the incident – “that’s where we are still at as a country . . . It’s pretty standard. Some people are casual racists and some people are overt like it was last night.”
Robinson said he supported South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou’s calls for life bans for the offender and their parents.
Mitchell, who is a Birrbay and Wiradjuri man born in Taree, New South Wales state, has faced racial taunts in the past. In April 2021, two men were charged for sending him racially abusive social media messages.
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