The teenager identified as racially abusing Latrell Mitchell during an NRL game has escaped criminal charges, instead receiving a formal warning from NSW Police.
- NSW Police said they had issued a 14-year-old an official warning under the Young Offenders Act
- The NRL is conducting its own separate investigation which is ongoing
- Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou said the way the NRL has responded has been “first class”
The 14-year-old male allegedly directed a racist comment towards Mitchell as the players left the field at half-time of South Sydney’s 16-10 loss to Penrith last Thursday.
The incident sparked calls for the NRL to ban the spectator for life, with Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou vowing the Rabbitohs would file a police report on the matter.
On Thursday, NSW Police confirmed they had met with the alleged offender and finalised their investigation.
“Following inquiries by officers attached to Nepean Police Area Command, a 14-year-old boy has been spoken to and issued a warning under the Young Offenders Act,” NSW Police said in a statement.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the teenager disputed his comment was racially motivated.
The NRL confirmed to AAP their investigation remained ongoing.
“The Integrity Unit has been liaising with police and will soon finalise its own investigation,” an NRL official said.
Ahead of Mitchell’s first game since the incident, Demetriou said the full-back — a Biripi and Wiradjuri man — had drawn strength from the outpouring of support he had received.
“The support from the game, particularly from our club and everybody involved in it, and the way the NRL handled it was first class,” Demetriou said.
“[Mitchell] has got a lot of support and he’s got a lot of confidence out of that as well.”
Mitchell and the Rabbitohs face traditional rivals the Sydney Roosters on Friday.
The last time the sides met, the Roosters’ fans subjected Mitchell — who won two premierships at the Tricolours before he joined South Sydney — to a barrage of boos.
While Roosters players have urged their supporters to go easy on Mitchell this time around, Demetriou said his number one would garner plenty of support from the Rabbitohs faithful on gameday.
“If people want to boo, that’s their choice,” Demetriou said.
“They weren’t booing him for being Indigenous … they were booing him because he was a Rabbitohs player.
“He’ll be well received, there’ll be a hell of a lot of Rabbitohs supporters there and he’ll get great support from them.”