The NRL has warned it will continue to refer racist online trolling of its players to police after two men were charged with sending abusive messages via social media to South Sydney star Latrell Mitchell.
Mitchell earlier this week informed the NRL Integrity Unit he had received numerous offensive and “racially charged” social media messages.
The Integrity Unit forwarded those complaints to police, who on Friday arrested a 22-year-old Taree man and a 25-year-old Lake Munmorah man.
Both men were charged with using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, and granted bail to appear in NSW courts next month.
It comes after Mitchell was hit with a four-match NRL suspension for a dangerous contact charge in last weekend’s match against Wests Tigers.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said the competition would not tolerate racist trolling of players.
He also lauded Mitchell for his leadership role in fighting online abuse.
Matter for the police
“Any fan who racially abuses or threatens our players will be referred to police,” Mr Abdo said in a statement.
“I want to commend Latrell for the leadership role he is taking. We wholeheartedly support Latrell in reporting this matter. He is a leader in the fight against racism in our community.”
Mitchell has long made a point of calling out internet trolls, and in 2019 became one of the games Indigenous leaders after taking a strong stance against racism.
South Sydney chief executive Blake Solly on Friday praised his actions, and backed other players to take the same stance.
“Racism is absolutely abhorrent and has no place in our game or society in general,” Solly said.
“We fully support Latrell’s decision to refer the abuse to the NSW Police.
“Latrell has shown great courage in taking this position, and I would encourage other NRL players who are subject to abuse of this nature to do the same thing.”