Australia’s National Rugby League vowed Friday to rid the sport of racism after South Sydney’s Indigenous fullback Latrell Mitchell was racially abused.
A slur was hurled from the crowd as the 25-year-old left the field at half-time during a 16-10 defeat at the Penrith Panthers on Thursday.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo, who told reporters that the governing body is working with police to establish the full facts, called any abuse “absolutely abhorrent”.
He added: “We will do all we can to make sure we leave the game better than we found it and that means that these types of incidents are not occurring,” Abdo said.
“You’re going to be called out, and not just by players but by fans and officials.
“We self-regulate in our game and eventually it becomes eradicated. That has to be our goal and our vision.”
South Sydney’s chief executive Blake Solly called for “the strongest possible action” against anyone involved.
The team’s coach Jason Demetriou has called for life bans for racially abusive fans.
“It’s just not on. We have to stamp it out completely,” Demetriou said after Thursday’s game.
“Life bans. Get anyone who wants to make racial remarks out of the game. It has to end.”
It comes five years after another Indigenous South Sydney player, Greg Inglis, was abused by home fans at the same Penrith Stadium.
“It’s not the first time we have come here and been racially abused,” Demetriou added.
“Where does it end? It’s just not on.”