NOT HAPPY: Ipswich Rugby League chairman Jack Rhea said the way the letter was released on social media was not appropriate.
NOT HAPPY: Ipswich Rugby League chairman Jack Rhea said the way the letter was released on social media was not appropriate. Rob Williams

Rugby league boss to confront racist 'gorilla' letter

IPSWICH Rugby League will be talking to clubs about racism and what is appropriate on social media after Goodna Eagles captain Ramon Filipine published a racist letter he received on Facebook.

The letter, calling his team "gorillas" offering them "a big bunch of bananas", made the rounds online and has been shared by many members of the Ipswich football community.

RELATED: Racist letter dubs rugby league players 'gorillas'

However a number of people denied the term "gorilla" was racist and said it was simply a common rugby league phrase.

IRL chairman Jack Rhea, who is Indigenous himself, said "gorilla" was certainly not a football term.

"I think gorilla is a racist term. I take those comments personally," he said.

"It's been a great season and for that to happen has left a really bad taste in my mouth.

"It's just some fringe-dweller who is probably not part of any club (who wrote the letter)."

 

A racist letter was sent to Goodna Rugby League captain Ramon Filipine before the IRL grand final match against Brothers.
A racist letter was sent to Goodna Rugby League captain Ramon Filipine before the IRL grand final match against Brothers. Contributed

Mr Rhea said the real issue with the situation was the way it was handled online instead of within the IRL.

"It's all been blown out of proportion on Facebook," he said.

"We have arranged to meet with both clubs to make sure there are no hard feelings and we're taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"It's about education. At the next general meeting we will be talking about the use of social media and what's acceptable."

RELATED: Racism has no place in our city

Filipine is standing by his method of sharing the letter's contents online.

"I wouldn't change a thing," he said.

"When I made the letter public I wanted to take a stand against racism.

"Growing up I faced racism more than once in my life and it's about getting it out there.

"People don't stand for racism and there is no place for it in the game."

 

 

IRL chairman Jack Rhea has commented on the letter, which went viral online.
IRL chairman Jack Rhea has commented on the letter, which went viral online. Rob Williams

The Goodna captain said he didn't think the letter, which was signed with a fake name, came from a player and that it would be virtually impossible to find out where it came from.

"Our rivalry has been competitive but I doubt any players would write a letter like that. One of the Brothers players called me to apologise even though he didn't do it," he said.

"Maybe it was a passionate supporter, it was too personal not to be.

"It's not about (who sent it) any more. The biggest thing for me is making sure anyone who faces racism can speak out."

The next IRL general meeting will be held on Monday, October 10.



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