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Crows blast online racist troll after Rankine abuse

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks has blasted an online troll who sent young forward Izak Rankine racial abuse, saying the perpetrator set up an account which can’t be traced so as to intentionally hurt people.

Izak Rankine. Photo: AAP/Matt Turner

Izak Rankine. Photo: AAP/Matt Turner

Adelaide and the AFL have strongly condemned the racism after Rankine, 22, posted a screenshot of the message on his Instagram account showing he’d received the abuse during his side’s win against Fremantle.

“Pretty disappointing to STILL have to deal with this. When will it end,” Rankine wrote on his Instagram.

He was in great touch in the Crows’ 39-point win against Fremantle on Saturday, kicking three goals.

Nicks praised Rankine’s decision to call out the abuse, adding his welfare was the club’s main concern.

“It’s not a person. This is someone who’s actively targeted (Rankine), it’s an intention here to hurt someone, to have an account set up where it can’t be traced,” he told Fox Footy.

“It’s not a real person, in my opinion, and it’s disgraceful, but we’ll do whatever we can from here to support Izak.

“He’s an amazing human being, and we’ll just put all the support we can around him and he can’t wait to play Thursday night.”

The AFL’s integrity department has been contacted and will investigate the incident with the hope of identifying the individual involved.

The incident comes just weeks after Western Bulldogs young gun Jamarra Ugle-Hagan was racially abused both by a spectator and online post-game when his side played St Kilda.

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Adelaide CEO Tim Silvers labelled the “deliberate” attack on Rankine as “totally unacceptable and disgraceful” and said the club would support the player and his family.

“All of us have a responsibility to call out this type of reprehensible behaviour,” he said.

“Equally, we must also take the time to understand the hurt it causes the person who has been targeted, as well as in this instance all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

The AFL echoed the Crows’ sentiments, declaring “there is no place in our game for anyone who vilifies our players”.

“We stand with the club in calling out the racist comments, comments that cause significant hurt and harm for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” the AFL’s statement read.

“The AFL continues its ongoing implementation of the ‘Peek rule’ and the work never stops against vilification, especially in the online space and the challenges surrounding the identification of antagonists.”

Rankine was traded from the Gold Coast back to his home state of South Australia in the off-season and has hit the ground running at the Crows, slotting 11 goals in four games.

“There’s no doubt being home has triggered him to be able to just relax and focus on footy and enjoy his footy,” Nicks said.

“He’s got family back here, he’s been able to purchase a house and get himself settled from an off-field point of view.

“What he’s been able to do on the field has been a massive bonus for us, but the off-field is the part that we love.”

-with AAP

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