Sea Eagles forward Josh Aloiai has issued an apology after he said he accidentally liked a comment on a social media post which was racially offensive to Rabbitiohs star Latrell Mitchell.
Mitchell and brother Shaq conducted an interview with Nine News in the lead-up to Friday night’s All Stars match and the Indigenous brothers detailed some of the abuse they copped growing up in Taree.
On an Instagram post from the Nine account, a social media user commented “Biggest sook and always plays the racism card”, which Aloiai liked.
When contacted by media outlets afterwards he claimed it was done accidentally and he immediately removed the like.
“I was looking through Instagram as I normally do,” Aloiai said in the statement issued by Manly.
“I saw a post from Latrell, and I was going through it when I accidentally liked a comment as I was scrolling.
“When I was made aware of this, I immediately deleted it. If anyone saw it, I would like to say that it was certainly not intentional at all.”
It is not the first time Aloiai has been accused of intolerance – he was one of the “Manly Seven” who refused to wear an rainbow-themed inclusivity jersey two years ago due to religious reasons.
Souths and Manly face off in Las Vegas in the NRL’s historic opening round fixtures in the US with the Mitchell brothers certain to be lining up against Aloiai at Allegiant Stadium.
“[There was] a lot of racism when we grew up as kids,” Latrell said in the Nine News interview.
“People driving past in their cars yelling out, ‘Black this’ and, ‘Black that’. Other examples, we were at games [as] nine and 10-year-old kids playing for Taree Rovers [with] parents yelling out and being racist because we were carving their kids up.
“Scary, 100 %. We used to have to sprint home, close the curtains and lock the doors. Stuff like that just makes you feel inferior.”