Former Sydney star Michael O'Loughlin wants racism stamped out of the game. Picture: Brett Costello.
Former Sydney star Michael O'Loughlin wants racism stamped out of the game. Picture: Brett Costello.

Racism must stop, says O’Loughlin

SYDNEY great Michael O'Loughlin, who will be a headline guest at Foundation AFL season launch luncheon on March 13, has condemned the latest racist attack on Crows star Eddie Betts and wants the AFL to take "the strongest possible action'' against offenders, including ripping club memberships from them.

O'Loughlin said he was "absolutely disappointed and dumbfounded'' when Betts was racially vilified on social media after playing in the AFLX tournament in Melbourne.

The comment 'monkey see monkey do' was posted on Instagram on a photo of Betts arriving to play in the competition.

The brilliant small forward re-posted it and added "when will it stop, why can't we just play footy, why can't we just all get along".

It is the latest incident in which the 32-year-old had been targeted by racist trolls and O'Loughlin said it simply wasn't good enough.

He wants the AFL to take a no-tolerance stand with racism and punish the culprits.

"Take their memberships from them if they have them, come down hard on them, because this sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated,'' said South Australian O'Loughlin, who played 303 games and kicked 521 goals for Sydney from 1995-2009.

O'Loughlin said he would continue to try to educate people about racism and the affect it has on people and was at a loss to understand why Betts had become a regular victim.

"It's just crazy because when you think of Eddie you think entertainment, you think of how much kids love him and the way he plays his footy and how many bums he puts on seats,'' O'Loughlin said.

"He's the most entertaining player in the league alongside 'Buddy' Franklin, so it's just crazy.

"He plays an electric brand of footy, captures everyone's imagination and even writes children's books, so I cannot understand why he has to put up with so much garbage.

"I feel for him and it's really disappointing and not good enough. I guess it means that we just have to continue to have the conversation and educate people about the issue.

"The majority of Australians just scratch their heads and say 'why would someone write something like that on social media' but I guess it just means we've got some more work to do.

"People need to understand that words are very, very powerful and this sort of stuff should just not occur.''

Betts had previously said that racism is wrecking his enjoyment of the game.

Crows chief executive Andrew Fagan said the comments had "no place in football" and that racial abuse "must stop".