The AFL community were taken aback by multiple incidents of racial and homophobic abuse directed at four players within a 24-hour period. In response to the incidents, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan called for an end to such behaviour.
Brisbane Lions reported a racist comment allegedly directed towards forward Charlie Cameron to the AFL integrity unit on Tuesday. Adelaide Crows star Izak Rankine also exposed a racist message he received via social media on Monday.
“This has to stop,” stated McLachlan. “It not only hurts the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players targeted but all Indigenous players and players of color across the league as well as their families, their teammates, and friends.”
The Fremantle Dockers also condemned the abuse, with CEO Simon Garlick describing it as “unnecessary and disgusting.” Garlick urged fans to use this conversation as an opportunity to call out racist and homophobic slurs as unacceptable.
“Individuals that hide behind fake accounts to hurt others are pathetic and we need to be able to curb this capability on social platforms,” he said. “In the meantime, I urge fans to use this conversation to call out racist and homophobic slurs for the abhorrent and archaic discourse that it is.”
Brisbane Lions CEO Greg Swann echoed this sentiment and urged supporters to continue to speak out against such behaviour. “We want to take a strong stance against this happening and support any repercussions that the perpetrator may face,” he said.
Social media can be a powerful tool for connecting with fans but it can also affect players' mental health. Taking a stand against racism and homophobia in sports is vital to ensure everyone feels welcomed and respected on and off the field.
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Courtesy ABC News