Liam Ryan was targeted by racist abuse online.
Liam Ryan was targeted by racist abuse online.

Tigers ban fan for racist comments

A RICHMOND Tigers member has been found to have been the person who trolled West Coast forward Liam Ryan and called him a "monkey" in a racist comment made on Instagram in the wake of the Eagles' round one loss to the Brisbane Lions.

As a result Richmond have suspended the member from all matches for a period of two years after an AFL investigation revealed the person's identity.

Richmond tweeted their response on social media saying "racial vilification has no place in our game, and no place in our society" and that the club would continue to enforce a "zero tolerance" approach.

Their approach was backed by the AFL, who also took a hard line stance on the issue after Adelaide Crows star Eddie Betts was targeted with racist comments in the off-season.

The AFL's general manager inclusion and social policy, Tanya Hosch, said the League was determined to crack down on online racism.

"The comments directed at Liam Ryan are only the latest in what appears to be an increasing number of racist posts appearing on the players, and broader, online platforms," Hosch said.

"The AFL took action regarding on-field racism over 20 years ago, we take action at our stadiums and grounds, but we are now facing vicious commentary appearing on players own accounts, and industry platforms."

The Richmond member responsible for the abuse will be required to undergo an indigenous cultural awareness and education program before their membership is reinstated in March 2021.

The controversy came when Channel 7 AFL posted a video on its Instagram account posing the question of whether Ryan would be rubbed out after being reported for a jumper punch on Brisbane's Darcy Gardiner in the Lions' shock win over the Eagles on Saturday.

Some disturbing, racist comments were written in response to the post. One said: "Where did they get this monkey from Melbourne zoo" while another, posted by someone with a racist user name, added: "The monkey should be banned for life."

Ryan's West Coast comrade Nic Naitanui slammed the "fools" responsible for the vile remarks while GWS co-captain Phil Davis and Lions midfielder Mitch Robinson were among others to blow up.

Hosch said that where the AFL could take action over such abuse, it would while also taking a swipe at cowardly keyboard warriors.

"However, we also know that social media platforms invite commentary and feedback, and the anonymous nature of the commentary allows for the worst aspects of the community to get a voice.

"We have to continue to fight racism by shining a light where and when it happens, by standing with the person vilified and attacked, and by ongoing investment in anti-racism education, communications and campaigns."