Paddy Ryder won 13 disposals and 19 hit-outs in the victory over West Coast. (AAP: Richard Wainwright)
Port Adelaide has released a statement condemning a racist comment on a social media post about ruckman Paddy Ryder.
Ryder was a key factor in the wet, managing 13 disposals and 19 hit-outs in the surprise 42-point victory over the Eagles in Perth on Friday night.
However, the mood was soured in the aftermath of the victory when Port’s Indigenous star was targeted after the match with a racially-charged comment left on social media.
“Racism has no place in the AFL or our society more broadly,” Port Adelaide said in a statement.
“It is divisive, hurtful and not welcome.”
The comments were spotted and highlighted by Paul Marsh, the chairman of the AFL’s Players’ association, and his condemnation of the post was echoed by Hawthorn star Shaun Burgoyne.
The incident is just the latest in an increasingly long list of racist incidents directed towards AFL players on social media in recent weeks.
Last month, Richmond suspended one of its members for writing a racist comment about West Coast Eagles forward Liam Ryan.
After that incident, Eddie Betts and Majak Daw were also targeted by racist trolls, leading to the Eagles releasing a video to condemn the abuse and for Betts to claim that racism is “wrecking” the AFL.
Travis Varcoe told 7.30 this week that he considered refusing to go onto the field in protest over racist trolls after his wife discovered comments on his Facebook page.
Port Adelaide suggested that more action may be required to stem the flow of abusive comments being left on social media platforms.
“The Port Adelaide Football Club is aware of a racist social media post directed at Paddy Ryder following last night’s game in Perth,” Port Adelaide’s statement read.
“Port Adelaide will support Paddy and its Indigenous players in dealing with the impact of this cowardly and ignorant comment, but it is clear that the AFL and its member clubs must remain vigilant in coming together to eradicate this behaviour.
“Paddy and all Indigenous players across our competition deserve so much better.”
Social media racism has not been limited to just the AFL in recent weeks.
On Good Friday, English Premier League players lead a 24-hour boycott of social media in an attempt to force social media companies into cracking down on abusive comments left on their platforms.