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Plea for life bans after sickening Latrell abuse

An emotional South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou has called for life bans for anyone found guilty of racist abuse in the NRL.

His plea came after a spectator was ejected from BlueBet Stadium in Penrith on Thursday night for allegedly aiming a racist slur at Rabbitohs superstar Latrell Mitchell.

The slur was shouted at Mitchell as players walked off the field at half time. Players and staff immediately stopped and identified the alleged culprit, who was ejected by security.

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Mitchell spoke to media, including Nine’s broadcast, after the game but did so on the proviso he was not asked about the incident.

South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou spoke out against racial abuse aimed at Latrell Mitchell. (Getty)

Demetriou, though, unleashed on the alleged vile abuse.

He revealed to media it’s believed a 15-year-old was the perpetrator.

“It’s not the first time we’ve come here (to Penrith) as a club and our players have been racially abused,” Demetriou said.

“Where does it end? It’s just not on.

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“I shouldn’t have to come here as a coach and lead a team of players here to be racially abused.

“It’s not what our game is about and we have to stamp it out completely. NRL, clubs, they have to get rid of it.

“Life bans. Anyone wants to make racial abuse, get them out of the game. We don’t want their support.

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“It’s got to end.”

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo confirmed that the league was launching an investigation into the incident.

”Any form of racism or vilification will not be tolerated in our sport,” Abdo said in a statement on Thursday night.

“We will not accept this behaviour from anyone”

“We are working with the stadium and the club to get all the facts. The Integrity Unit will investigate fully.

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

Another incident Demetriou referred to was in 2018 when then-Rabbitohs star Greg Inglis was racially abused.

On that occasion two spectators were issued indefinite bans.

Mitchell has often spoken out against racial abuse he has been subjected to.

In 2021 he admitted he almost quit the NRL because of the ongoing abuse. That same year, two men were arrested for using social media to direct racist slurs at Mitchell.

“I’ve been copping this all my life since I was an eight-year-old kid,” Mitchell said in 2021.

“My ancestors before me have and nothing’s changed.”

Demetriou says it has to end.

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“He’s sick of it. Why wouldn’t he be?” he said.

“He should be able to come here as a star of our game and not be racially abused. Who cares what colour he is? It’s just not on.

“I don’t understand how that happens in our day and age.I don’t understand how in Australia anyone is raised like that. It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

“Latrell is a real role model in our game. We love him… he stands for the indigenous people, he stands for good people.

“But he shouldn’t have to handle it, he shouldn’t have to keep dealing with this. It’s just rubbish.”

Demetriou said South Sydney is prepared to pursue legal action against the spectator.

“We will go all the way, as far as we can with it,” he said.

“As a club we will stand right behind Latrell. As far as I’m concerned we go as far as we can take it.

“There has to be hard and fast rules – if anyone even comes close to be racial, they are completely ruled out of our game. And if it’s a young kid, rule their parents out as well.”

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