Inquiry into racial libel at Queensland football match

Video of a local Queensland rugby league match, where a supporter can be heard hurling racial slurs at Aboriginal players, is circulating online.

During the taping of the Round 16 game between the Gatton Hawks and the Pittsworth Danes, an alleged Pittsworth supporter is heard shouting “shut up, black c**t”.

The crowd laughs in response.

The clip gained traction on social media, being shared on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

Open investigation

The Toowoomba Rugby League (TRL) has launched an investigation, with chairman Joe Hannant insisting the incident is being looked into “urgently”.

“We will speak to all parties involved to get to the bottom of the allegations and ensure a fair and respectful process for all,” he said.

Mr Hannant said the welfare of the players was the ‘top priority’ and that ‘any form of racism or defamation’ is not tolerated.

The club at the center of it all, Pittsworth Danes, said they would cooperate with the TRL investigation.

“Pittsworth Danes do not tolerate comments made during the filming of last week’s match and will work with the Toowoomba Rugby League in their investigation of the incident,” club chairman Gary Nolan said in a statement posted online. .

“There is no place for racism in our game or our society. As a club, we do not tolerate it and will take appropriate action once the investigation is complete.

“We would like to apologize on behalf of Pittsworth Danes to the Gatton Hawks Club and the players involved.”

“Racism lives and breathes”

Buddy Hippi has been with TRL for many years and recently returned to play for the Newtown Lions.

Mr Hippi told NITV News he was “not surprised” by the language used in the video.

“We know racism lives and breathes in this country, and it’s on steroids in sports too,” he said.

“It has a huge impact, not just on the people who play football, but on the wider community.”

While just one man is heard racially abusing players, many more laugh in support, an act Mr Hippi says is “just as bad”.

“It’s horrible, and laughing like that, that kind of reaction, I tell those people you’re as bad as the person who made that comment.”

Mr Hippi said there had been discussions of Indigenous players boycotting matches. However, there were concerns that the teams could not finish without them.

A proud Gomeroi man with ties to Boggabilla, Mr. Hippi and his family run a Toowoomba-based cultural business, Winangali Infusion.

He said he discussed ways his company can work with TRL to encourage cultural awareness and education.

“I guess for me and my people it’s how we handle and deal with this one when it comes at different times,” he said.

“Since our country was invaded, we have been dealing with racism…it’s passed from family to family.

“Our people pass on our knowledge and our belief systems, our connection to the country and the healing, while people love it: it’s been ingrained in them from day one. They don’t see our people for who we really are.

Mr. Hippi invited the culprit to learn more about native culture and history.

“To really understand each other, we have to sit down and just have a story. Instead of focusing on our differences, we focus on our commonalities,” he said.

“I call that person, I’m happy to take them for a few days or a month on Country, to show them the beauty of who we are.”

Mr Hippi noted the importance of speaking out against racism at all levels of sport and acknowledged the advocacy of NRL stars Latrell Mitchel, Josh Addo-Carr and AFL greats Eddie Betts and Adam Goodes.

“I don’t mind calling it, you know, we have to do it for the young people coming in. We’ve had so many people doing it for us, now we have to carry this message stick.”

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