Sydney Roosters skipper Boyd Cordner has called on other players to follow Latrell Mitchell’s leadership in calling out racist online trolling. Cordner on Tuesday admitted he was shocked by an online slur made against Mitchell, which was shared by the star centre to expose the alleged offender.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to [Mitchell] … he set a precedent there,” Cordner said. “It sometimes can be an uncomfortable thing to talk about but we need to talk about it and stand up against it. That has to be the way forward with players and everyone. They have to start calling it out if they see it.”
The NRL integrity unit is investigating the Facebook slur against Mitchell after he published a screenshot of it on Instagram on Sunday night, trying to find out if the person who made it was a NRL club member and so could be banned.
Mitchell was with family in Taree on the NSW mid-north coast on Tuesday as most Roosters players enjoyed a three-day break. He had already earned the praise of NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and Rugby League Players’ Association boss Ian Prendergast for his stance, while Roosters coach Trent Robinson labelled the poster a “coward” and warned it was not a one-off event.
Jake Friend joined his Roosters co-captain Cordner in backing their young teammate. “I’m sure Latrell has copped plenty of it,” said Friend. “I’m really proud of Latrell to just put it out there and take the stance he has. You can cop stuff about the way you are playing footy but, when it comes to stuff like family, race or sexuality or anything like that, it’s too far. Footy is a game – it’s meant to be fun. That’s where it should stand.”
The Mitchell slur came amid an ugly weekend online for NRL players. Embattled North Queensland forward Josh McGuire has sought support from the Cowboys after receiving death threats and torrents of abuse over his on-field behaviour. Wests Tigers winger Paul Momirovski was also the target of abuse after missing a crucial last-minute kick in their 18-16 loss to Canterbury.