'Enough is enough', Mitchell welcomes action on online racism

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Rugby league international Latrell Mitchell, one of Australia's most prominent indigenous sportsmen, has welcomed the arrest of two men for allegedly racially abusing him online and hopes his actions in reporting the messages will be a catalyst for change.

New South Wales police last Friday charged the two men with sending abusive messages to the South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback, who is the great-nephew of Grand Slam tennis champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

"This is an outcome that I've wanted for a very long time, for people to be accountable for their actions and their words," the 23-year-old told a new conference on Monday.

"I've been copping this all my life since I was an 8-year-old kid. My ancestors before me have and nothing's changed."

Racial abuse of indigenous players was once commonplace in Australian stadiums but as it has become rarer in recent years athletes of colour have become a target for attacks on social media.

Australian rules player Eddie Betts highlighted the racist abuse he received on social media last year after a Twitter user posted a picture of a monkey in reference to the Carlton player.

Mitchell said he had previously engaged with the abusers online but conceded that had been "wasting energy".

"I think that's what they wanted to get a kick out of," he said. "I grew up and mature a little bit through that period and enough is enough."

Mitchell said he wanted the National Rugby League (NRL) to establish a system whereby players receiving any abuse, not just of a racist nature, could pass on messages for the league to forward to the police.

Players from several sports in Australia have complained of becoming targets of online trolls who have lost bets because of the outcome of games.

"This is the standard that I've set and for anyone in the rugby league community or just in the general community just to call it out," Mitchell said.

"I just wanted to set a process now ... to make the boys in the NRL feel comfortable enough if they receive these messages and to call it out."

England's soccer authorities on Sunday announced a social media boycott next weekend in response to continued online racist abuse of players.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)