Cody Walker believes Latrell Mitchell's courage has paved the way for more players to stand up to racism while applauding the NRL's stance to support players who are victims of online trolling.
Walker is a close friend and South Sydney teammate of Mitchell's and has spoken with the 23-year-old about the racist abuse he'd received via social media.
Mitchell reported the matter to the NRL integrity unit who forwarded the complaint to the NSW police who on Friday arrested a 22-year-old Taree man and 25-year-old Lake Munmorah man.
The men were charged with using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence and were granted bail to appear in court in May.
Walker said he was incredibly proud of his friend for how he has dealt with racist abuse not just now, but throughout his entire NRL career.
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"I think we have to congratulate Latrell in all of this," Walker said.
"He is such a strong-minded person, I've never really met a guy as strong-minded as Latrell is.
"You have to understand he is 23 years of age and he has copped this since he has been in the game.
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"The way he has handled himself through these periods is quite a credit to himself and I'm quite proud of the NRL for taking this step and showing that there is a process in place and it's quite a big process and it's a pretty proud moment.
"I'm quite close to Latrell, not only on the field but off the field. We spend a lot of time together and rattle a lot of ideas off each other and he spoke to me about it. He spoke to the guys who he needed to speak to and I'm quite proud of him to be fair."
As captain of the Indigenous All Stars, Walker said confronting racism had been a big talking point among his teammates and they'd all made a pact to stand up to it.
“For sure. 100 per cent. It's what we've spoken about for a number of years now, it's not on in the game let alone society,” Walker said.
“I can't believe we're still talking about this in 2021.”
Mitchell is just the latest victim in the worrying trend of NRL stars and coaches being targeted via social media and online trolls.
Last year Broncos coach Anthony Seibold endured vicious rumours being spread on social media before he eventually stood down from his job.
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While earlier this year Roosters centre Josh Morris received threats of violence for failing to score a try because it had impacted upon a gambler's multi-bet.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said the game would report any online abuse of their players to the authorities. Walker said the players appreciated such support and hoped it would give everyone in the game the courage to stand up on this issue.
"That is why it's so good the NRL are doing something about it, there is a process in place and they're taking action," he said.
"That's all we really want. It's quite a good feeling [to know we're supported].
"That's the beauty of what's happening now, they're taking action which is great. And it's only positives you can take out of it."