Wighton calls out racism after alleged Mitchell abuse

Joanna Guelas |

South Sydney’s Jack Wighton is frustrated at repeated instances of racism in the sport.
South Sydney’s Jack Wighton is frustrated at repeated instances of racism in the sport.

A frustrated Jack Wighton is tired of talking about racism, after teammates Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker again allegedly copped abuse during an NRL game.

The league is looking into claims Mitchell and Walker have become targets of racial abuse, after a crowd member allegedly vilified the Rabbitohs duo during Saturday’s loss to St George Illawarra.

A fan, who submitted a report to the league, claimed a man repeatedly aimed racial taunts at the pair during the match, but was able to leave the ground without being pulled up by security.

It is far from the first time Mitchell, a vocal spokesman on Indigenous matters, has been racially targeted.

Wighton, a Wiradjuri man and close friend of Mitchell, expressed his frustrations at the continual abuse.

“It’s crazy. We shouldn’t be having this conversation right now and we are, and it’s sad,” Wighton said on Tuesday.

“That’s just stupidity. It’s going to go nowhere, and it’s going to get people nowhere. We’re still having this conversation. It’s a hard one.”

The 2020 Dally M winner, who will play his 250th game in Magic Round, remained tight-lipped about how Mitchell and Walker were faring after the alleged incident. 

“It’s all getting sorted out and something I won’t comment on too much,” he said.

“Whatever is found out, if it becomes true, whatever or whoever it is, hopefully the people make the right decisions and do what they have to.

“It’s definitely not tolerated in the game and something we wish wasn’t here.”

South Sydney's Latrell Mitchell.
South Sydney’s Latrell Mitchell has frequently called out racism on social media. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS)

Mitchell was returning from suspension, while Walker, a Bundjalung and Yuin man, was playing his 200th NRL game when the alleged abuse occurred.

“He (Mitchell) is one of the main reasons I came here. I just want to see him smile and play good footy,” Wighton said.

“It was really good to have him back on the field. He’s a key member of the team and we love playing with him. I love playing with him.”

Mitchell has frequently called out racism on social media, and has recently been subjected to extensive boos from fans at matches.

A teenager received a formal warning from NSW Police and a ban from the league last year for abusing the star fullback as he walked off the field at Penrith.