Demetriou seeks life ban after alleged racist abuse of Latrell Mitchell at Penrith

Souths coach Jason Demetriou has called for life bans for fans who allegedly racially abused Latrell Mitchell at half-time of their 16-10 loss to Penrith at Bluebat Stadium.

Demetriou was clearly angered by the alleged incident, in which a teenage fan allegedly called Mitchell a “black dog”. The fan went out and police are probing.

“Where does it end?” Demetriou said. “It’s just not on. I shouldn’t have come here as a coach and had a bunch of players face racial abuse. It’s not on.

“It’s not about our game and we have to end it completely. NRL clubs have to get rid of it. Life bans, anyone wanting to racially abuse them, get them out of the game, we don’t want their support.” It has to end.

“It’s not the first time we’ve been here as a club and our players have been racially abused,” he said, referring to the 2018 incident where Greg Inglis was subjected to similar abuse at Penrith Stadium. had to face

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The supporter who allegedly made the comment was described as a teenager in a Sydney Roosters jersey and was said to have accompanied his father to the game.

Mitchell and several South players could be seen reacting to the teen, with Latrell saying ‘What did you say?’ And shaking his head as he walks off the pitch.

The fans were then removed and police could be seen talking to fans around the tunnel.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

Demetriou said, “As far as I understand, security has done a very good job in identifying who it is, the club has done a very good job in identifying who it is and now we will take it through the police.”

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“We’ll go all the way as far as we can with this. As a club, we’ll be standing right next to Latrell.

“He’s sick of it. Why wouldn’t he be? He should be able to come here as the star of our sport and not be a victim of racial abuse. Who cares what color he is?

“It’s not on. I don’t understand how this happens in our day and age. I can’t get my mind around how a little kid thinks the language he’s using. I don’t care if he Which jersey is he wearing? Take them out of our game.

Demetriou also supported Mitchell’s character, saying she constantly deals with this type of abuse. In 2021, he reported two people to the police after receiving racist abuse on social media, resulting in charges from the police.

“Latrell answers his critics with his character every week,” he said.

“He’s consistently shown the quality guy that he is. Again it’s not something Latrell polices on the footy field. It’s something he’s had to deal with all his life. All indigenous people do.

“I can’t get my head around it. I don’t understand how someone in Australia is raised like that. It doesn’t make sense to me.

“Latrell is a real role model in our game. We love him at our club. He stands up for Indigenous people. He stands up for good people.

“I am just worried about Latrell or any indigenous player in our organization. Where, as a sport, do we say no, no, this isn’t happening?

“There have to be hard and fast rules. If anyone even comes close to being racist they have to be thrown out of our game completely. And if it’s a young child, throw their parents out too.

“It’s just not on. Why should you fight it? I can’t understand how he feels? I didn’t have to grow up with this stuff. But he has it and other people have it and I’m around it.” Can’t take my head.

“If this was my child, I would be completely ashamed and embarrassed that my child even thought to speak like that.”

The Panthers quickly issued a statement pledging their support for the investigation.

“Penrith Panthers is aware of an alleged incident involving a rugby league fan which occurred at half time of their Round 2 match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bluebell Stadium,” it read.

“The NRL was immediately notified of the alleged matter, and the club will work with the NRL to investigate the situation. At this point, the Panthers will make no further comment.”

(Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

Panthers co-captain Nathan Cleary was devastated for his Kangaroos team-mate.

“It’s just disgusting,” Cleary said. “There’s no point in a sport where you should feel you have a right to say things like that to a player.

“I hope they never come back here. They’re not fans if they’re saying that.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the NRL Integrity Unit is investigating the alleged incident.

“Racism or slander of any kind will not be tolerated in our sport,” he added. “We will not accept this behavior from anyone. We are working with the stadium and the club to obtain all the facts. The Integrity Unit will conduct a thorough investigation.

“We will stand behind our players and commend them for calling out this behavior.”

Mitchell’s former coach Trent Robinson offered an apology on behalf of his club as the man who made the offending comment was wearing a Roosters jersey.

“This is absolutely wrong, it is unacceptable and it should not be tolerated,” he said. “We have to end this. It’s not about the teams and who plays for whom, it’s a deeper issue.”

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