NRL bans two fans for racial abuse of South Sydney players

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The NRL has issued banning notices to two fans for “indefinite periods” following alleged racial abuse of South Sydney Rabbitohs stars Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker club officials labelled ‘disgusting”.

Officials investigated claims Mitchell and Walker were vilified during Saturday’s loss to St George Illawarra at Kogarah.

A fan reported to officials that a man repeatedly aimed racial taunts at the pair during the match but left the ground without being addressed by security.

On Wednesday the NRL confirmed two fans had been alleged to have made the “disparaging comments” and had five days to respond to the bans.  

“Racism must be called out in all its forms because the standard you walk past is the standard you accept,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said

“Abusive behaviour directed at players will not be tolerated. I commend the fans that acted on this and brought it to our attention. With this information we have been able to take action.

“Attending a rugby league match should be a positive, welcoming and respectful environment for everyone. We want everyone to feel welcome and enjoy the experience.

“The Spectator Code of Conduct has been set up specifically to deal with instances like this and we will continue to take action against any patron who displays offensive or anti-social behaviour.

“We have a strong system in place which enables us to deal with these types of comments quickly and decisively. The system also enables other spectators to be confident enough to report inappropriate comments, which in this case has allowed us to act.

“As a game we need to stand with our players and ensure they are treated with respect at all times. We will continue to protect players in their place of work.”

The pair’s South Sydney teammate, Jack Wighton, said it was “crazy” such incidents still occur.

“ We shouldn’t be having this conversation right now and we are, and it’s sad,” Wighton said on Tuesday.

“It’s definitely not tolerated in the game and something we wish wasn’t here.”

Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly labelled the abuse “ archaic, disgusting” and welcomed the bans.

“We applaud the members of the public that stood up and called out this disgraceful behaviour. We hope more people show the bravery that this person has shown to call out racism in an effort to eradicate it from our society,” he said. .

“We thank the NRL, the St George Illawarra Dragons and New South Wales Police for their efforts on this case. “We continue to support our players and their families who, unfortunately, still have to face this type of behaviour. Racism is archaic, disgusting and will not be tolerated.

“We call for supporters who attend games to respect all players and their efforts on the field.”

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