Panthers star Jarome Luai is considering following Latrell Mitchell’s lead and engaging police to pursue social media trolls in the fight against online racial abuse directed at players.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Luai is weighing up police action after a troll racially abused him during Round 7 in public comments that appeared on the NRL’s official Instagram account.
The latest incident came to light just a day after Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell decided to take a public stand against online bullying in a bid to give players the strength to report racial abuse directed at them.
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NRL: Latrell Mitchell speaks for the first time after two men were charged for racially abusing the South Sydney star on social media….
NRL: Latrell Mitchell speaks for the first time after two men were charged for racially abusing the South Sydney star on social media.
The comment directed at Luai, which included a racist slur, was reportedly the first time he has been targeted and was posted under a photo of the gun five-eighth celebrating during the Panthers’ Round 7 win over the Knights.
The comment remained online for approximately two hours before a Panthers official asked the NRL to take it down.
Luai is of Samoan heritage and was called up to Brad Fittler’s NSW Blues squad last year.
The 24-year-old admitted the comment left him feeling bad and considering taking further action against the culprit as he echoed Mitchell’s thoughts on the matter of online racial abuse.
“It’s definitely something you don’t want to read and it leaves you with a shit feeling,” Luai told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We’re all different and if someone wasn’t as strong as I am, they could take this comment a lot differently. It’s not on.
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“I’ve never had anything like this. I know there are a lot of trolls out there, and I’m usually pretty good with not reading it, but it’s crap we have to look at it and cop it.
“I know this person would never try saying it to my actual face.”
Last Friday two men were charged with using a social media platform to harass or cause offence after abusing Mitchell online.
The police arrested the two offenders five days after Mitchell informed the Rabbitohs and the NRL of the incident.
Luai backed Mitchell’s stance in light of the incident involving himself and believes players need to feel they can reach out for support and call this abuse out.
“It’s your personal preference with what you do, and it depends on how much it actually affects you and how far someone actually goes with the abuse,” Luai said.
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“Good on Latrell, I respect what he is doing. I’m not too sure what I’ll do right now.
“Anyone in the spotlight these days will have haters and people who want to bring you down. I’m a strong person mentally and people I don’t know, I don’t really care about their opinions. That’s how I view it.”
Souths hooker Damien Cook, who has supported teammate Mitchell through his ordeal also leapt to the defence of Luai upon hearing of the abuse directed at the Panthers star.
“That’s disgusting and you only hope Jarome is alright. He’s a star of the game at the moment, he’s playing outstanding football and out there entertaining. I don’t know what people get out of it.
“I watch other sports but when I watch other athletes, I never get the urge to write something abusive at all. So why do other people think they are entitled to do that themselves?”
Mitchell said on Monday: “I don’t want to be known as just a rugby league player. Online bullying, cyber bullying, it only takes that one message for someone not as strong as me that can’t [handle] the criticism for them to go and do some self harm.”
The NRL continues to offer support to any player who is targeted by online abuse from fans.
Originally published asPanthers star considers police action after copping racial abuse from online troll
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