South Sydney star Cody Walker concedes it will be difficult to eradicate racism in society, but he applauded fellow Indigenous player Tyrone Peachey for having the courage to make a stand.
Walker has thrown his support behind Peachey following allegations that Newcastle forward Mitch Barnett racially vilified the Gold Coast lock.
Walker will come up against Barnett‘s Knights on Sunday, a week after Peachey accused him of abusing him during the Titans’ big win over Newcastle. Barnett denies the allegations.
The NRL’s investigation was unable to uncover sufficient evidence, so the pair will now have a conciliation meeting to resolve the issue.
Walker refused to discuss the incident in detail but revealed he had contacted Peachey to check on his mental condition.
“I messaged Tyrone to make sure that he understood that he knew that he had the full support of the playing group,” Walker said.
“I admire his courage in standing out and speaking about these sorts of things because I understand that it can be difficult.
“I’m just so proud of him for standing up.”
Speaking generally, Walker knows removing racism completely will be hard to achieve, but he believes continual education and players calling out abuse is the only way forward.
“The way we get rid of it? We just keep calling it out and knock it on the end,” he said.
“We’ve taken two or three steps forward.
“We knock it on the head straight away with education that it isn’t a good feeling for anyone, but it is going to be hard to eliminate it (racism).”
Walker can’t believe racism in sport, and society in general, is still an issue in 2020.
He revealed the Redfern All Blacks encountered issues in their grand final at Manly last weekend, while matches in Newcastle also experienced racial abuse.
“It is just not on,” he said.
“I can’t believe that we are still having this conversation in 2020.
“There is no place in the game for racism in sport, let alone society.
“I just can’t believe that we are still having this conversation – it is quite disappointing to be fair.”