November 22, 2022

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The Fremantle Dockers have reported “vile and racist” online comments to the AFL after two players were targeted following the club’s win over St Kilda on Saturday.

Fremantle forward Michael Frederick took to social media on Monday night to share racist comments that were sent to him privately.

The 22-year-old commented “what you cop from a low life,” as he shared five messages that continually referred to the colour of his skin.

The screenshot of the messages hid the identity of the offender.

Fremantle chief executive Simon Garlick said Michael Walters, 31, was also targeted, and confirmed the club had reported the matter to the AFL.

Michael Walters
Fremantle has reported the abuse aimed at Walters and his teammate to the AFL.(ABC News: Claire Moodie)

“There is absolutely no place for online abuse and our club will not tolerate it at any level,” he said in a statement.

“They are two much-loved members of our Freo family who have been vilified in a cowardly way and we are working through the matter with the priority being the wellbeing and support for our players.”

Abuse aimed at Michael Frederick before

It is not the first time Fremantle players have been subjected to racially motivated attacks.

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Frederick posted similar messages on social media in 2020 after the Dockers posted a win over Sydney.

Garlick said at the time the club would not tolerate the continuing racial vilification of AFL players.

“At Fremantle we believe in a future without racism,” he said.

The comments aimed at Frederick and Walters come amid ongoing concerns over AFL players being subject to racism.

Earlier this year a racist slur was directed towards the twin toddler sons of West Coast Eagles forward Liam Ryan, prompting both the club and AFL to release statements decrying the remark.

Last year former Carlton and Adelaide player Eddie Betts said the AFL was not a safe environment for Indigenous players

Eddie Betts salutes the crowd.
Eddie Betts says the fight against racism is draining and tiring for AFL players.(AAP: David Mariuz)

He said every season Indigenous players tried to call out racism and stand against it.

“It’s been draining and it’s been tiring,” he said.

“I’ll still call it out, even when I’m not playing footy. I’ll still use my voice.

The AFL apologised to former Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes in 2019 for the sustained racism he experienced as a player.

In a joint statement, the AFL and 18 clubs stated the apology was issued on behalf of members, administrators, staff and players.

“Failure to call out racism and not standing up for one of our own let down all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, past and present,” the statement read.

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