Manly prop Josh Aloiai has apologised for liking an Instagram comment that suggested Latrell Mitchell “always plays the racism card” and said it was an accident.
Aloiai was alerted on Monday to the fact he had liked the comment on social media, and he quickly removed the like, saying it was done inadvertently.
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The offensive comment was made on a video on the NRL on Nine Instagram account where Mitchell and his brother Shaqui spoke about the racial abuse they endured playing junior football in Taree, NSW.
The comment on the post read: “biggest sook an [sic] always plays the racism card”.
“I was looking through Instagram as I normally do,” Aloiai said in a statement via the Sea Eagles.
“I saw a post from Latrell, and I was going through it when I accidentally liked a comment as I was scrolling.
“When I was made aware of this, I immediately deleted it. If anyone saw it, I would like to say that it was certainly not intentional at all.”
Mitchell and his brother have been named in the Indigenous All Stars squad for the annual game against the Maori All Stars in Townsville on Friday night.
Aloiai, 28, was not named for Manly’s trial game against the Sydney Roosters in Gosford on Saturday.
Aloiai and Mitchell’s respective teams will face off when Manly take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the first game of the NRL season in Las Vegas on March 3.
In the interview, Mitchell said he and his brother copped “a lot of racism when we grew up as kids”.
“People driving past in their cars yelling out ‘black this’ and ‘lack that’,” Mitchell said.
“Other examples, we were at games, nine and 10-year-old kids playing for Taree Rovers, parents yelling out and being racist because we were carving their kids up.”
Mitchell said the racist abuse as “scary, 100 per cent”.
“We used to have to sprint home, close the curtains and lock the doors. Stuff like that just makes you feel inferior.”