Mundine slams Mitchell for ‘disrespect’ in racism saga

Jasper Bruce |

Anthony Mundine says he paved the way for calling out racism and bigotry in sport.
Anthony Mundine says he paved the way for calling out racism and bigotry in sport.

Anthony Mundine has urged “underperforming” Latrell Mitchell to “focus on footy” rather than “disrespect” his differing opinion about Spencer Leniu’s racial slur towards Ezra Mam.

On Friday night, Mundine levelled a social media tirade at fellow Indigenous sporting icon Mitchell, who had questioned the older athlete for telling Mam to “toughen up” amid the saga.

Sydney Roosters prop forward Leniu called Brisbane’s Mam a “monkey” during the NRL’s opening round in Las Vegas and faces a long ban from the NRL judiciary, which he fronts on Monday.

Leniu has since apologised and claimed not to have intended to racially vilify Indigenous man Mam.

Posted on social media this week, Mundine’s initial argument had been that because Leniu was of Samoan descent, his remark did not amount to racism because both players were people of colour.

South Sydney fullback Mitchell, who has been Mam’s most vocal supporter from any rival club, called that opinion “absolute bulls**t” and accused Mundine of trying to “dilute the oldest living culture in the world”.

Latrell Mitchell
Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs has been Ezra Mam’s most vocal supporter from any rival club. (HANDOUT/NRL PHOTOS)

In response, the always-outspoken Mundine told Mitchell he had earned the right to have an opinion on the incident through eight seasons in professional rugby league and a boxing career.

“To Latrell, Listen, Let me educate you on a few things that should have been quite apparent to you,” Mundine wrote on social media.

“When it came to exposing racism & bigotry in sport, I was the pioneer. I paved the way.

“In fact, I was giving a voice & standing up for Aboriginal people’s rights when you were still in nappies. I bled for the cause. 

“So when I have something to say about racism in sport, I’ve earned the right to say it.”

Mundine then directed his attention towards Mitchell’s footballing form.

The 26-year-old is arguably the most scrutinised player in the NRL and could not prevent South Sydney from crashing out of finals contention in 2023 despite their hot start to the season.

“Trell, please. Just focus on your footy…You’ve been underperforming far too long & been lucky to have Cody (Walker, Rabbitohs five-eighth) by your side to hold your hand,” Mundine said.

“Earn the right to talk before you start trying to disrespect the OG of the game. Remember, despite what you might think, you’re no Greg Inglis & you’re certainly no Anthony Mundine. 

“Despite your disrespect, I want you to succeed and excel. Your success fills me with pride & honour, but you need to learn to respect those who paved the way for you.”