VICTORIA Police have approached AFL player Courtenay Dempsey after he was the target of racial abuse online.
The Essendon Indigenous defender is furious in the wake of the Instagram post.
Dempsey has acknowledged that the offender apologised and deleted the message, but he has the Bombers’ full support if he wants to take legal action.
“My family and I are deeply upset,” Dempsey said in a club statement.
“People need to understand players are human and we have feelings.
“There is no place for racism in our society and in our game.
“This shouldn’t be happening in this day and age.” Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell said cyber bullying is a crime in Victoria.
“When you decide to post offensive comments on social media you will be held to account,” Campbell said.
“We understand Victoria Police has contacted Courtenay and the club will fully support him if he chooses to take this matter further.” A month ago, Sydney veteran Adam Goodes took a few days out from the game because of persistent booing from fans during matches. Goodes and senior AFL figures said the abuse was racist.
Dempsey’s abuse came after he laid a sling tackle on Richmond star Brett Deledio during the Saturday night match at the MCG. Deledio had to leave the field because of the tackle and Dempsey was referred directly to Tuesday’s tribunal.
“People need to take responsibility for their actions,” Dempsey said.
“It’s all very well to hide behind social media, but the pain of a comment like that lasts long after it has been deleted.
“I felt I needed to take a stand — it’s important for people to understand that their actions have consequences.
“As players we can accept feedback after we’ve had a poor game, it comes with the territory.
“But we shouldn’t, and won’t, tolerate abuse that attacks our race, sexuality or mental health.”