Sam Mitchell calls out racist AFL trolls in press conference after Hawthorn Hawks win over Adelaide Crows

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Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell has sharply criticised a racist remark made towards one of his players following his team’s 27-point win over Adelaide on Saturday afternoon.

Mitchell opened his press conference by denouncing racism on social media.

He said he would have no interest in welcoming a Hawks fan into the club if any form of racism prevailed within it.

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“I’ll actually start if that’s OK,” Mitchell said at the start of his press conference.

“I love football and I love our game and I think as community leaders we have to do our best work against discrimination,” he said.

“We have a few things that I don’t want to go into, but I just want to make it clear that as a person from Hawthorn, we have no interest in having you at the club if you have any kind of racist attitude.

“We are all delighted with a fantastic win and we all should be, but unfortunately some parts of our Hawthorn family cannot be delighted because the heroes at their keyboards think they can do something.

“And any of them who ever wears brown and gold, we don’t want.

“I’m sorry to start off on such a melancholy note, but I think it’s important to join the voices that speak out against racism and defamation.”

When asked specifically whether a player had been defamed, Mitchell replied: “I don’t want to go into detail, but you’re pretty much in the ballpark.”

This came after a dominant performance by the Hawks, who scored their first win of the season at the MCG in front of 36,086 fans.

Mitchell felt it was important to join the voices calling for an end to racism, including Eddie Betts, who, he mentioned, recently released a video on the subject.

Mitchell also said that after the game he spoke to the players involved in the situation and made the decision to denounce the impactful social media actions.

“Before I started here, I spoke to some people who are affected and asked, ‘Is this something I should (speak about publicly)?’ Because I only want to help people who are affected by it themselves. And if they are affected, all I can do is support them in any way I can.

“I feel the power of the press conference: ‘Should I support this or will it just make things worse?’ And the comment was: ‘I think we need to show as much support as we can.’ So I decided to do that.

“I don’t want to take up the whole press conference, but I thought it was important that I raise my voice at a time when there are people who should be celebrating – well, they’re still celebrating, but they’re being followed by a black dog, so to speak.”

Mitchell did not elaborate on the people involved, but said it was “absolutely ridiculous.”

“It’s hard as a coach because … you see how much effort goes into every single thing these guys do on the field … every player leaves so much of their life behind in the football field and to criticize that because of the way they look, then honestly you just have to grow up. That’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

— NCA NewsWire

Read related topics:Adelaide

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