Australian Rules: Banned Swan Taylor calls out online racism

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Banned Sydney Swans player Elijah Taylor called out racist abuse on social media on Wednesday, two days before the start of the Australian Football League’s “Indigenous Round”.

Aboriginal Australian Taylor was suspended on Monday by the Australian Rules top flight for the rest of the season after sneaking his partner into his accommodation in the team’s biosecure hub in Western Australia last week.

The 19-year-old posted a screenshot of racist posts on his Instagram page, where he was called a “monkey” and other derogatory terms.

“Honestly I’m extremely sorry for being selfish with my actions,” he wrote on Instagram, referring to the breach of the AFL’s biosecurity regime.

“I know what I’ve done not only affected me and the players but many others that all love the game.

“I understand that a lot of people are angry but racism really doesn’t fix anything.”

The Swans condemned the online abuse.

“Elijah made a poor decision last week and is dealing with the consequences – he does not deserve to be racially abused,” the Swans said in a statement.

“This week is about celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and the tremendous contribution Indigenous players have made to our great game.”

The AFL has worked hard to stamp out racism on-field and in the terraces, and the league is poised to recognise Indigenous players in the annual “Sir Doug Nicholls Round” which starts Friday.

However, Indigenous players are regularly targeted online.

Melbourne Demons midfielder Harley Bennell, Carlton Blues forward Eddie Betts and West Coast Eagles player Liam Ryan all reported suffering racist abuse on social media in recent months.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Kim Coghill