The West

Nic Nat cops Twitter abuse
Unsocial media: Nic Naitanui at Eagles training yesterday. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

West Coast Eagles have referred to police a series of racially abusive tweets directed at Nic Naitanui after the AFL star offered to help his abuser "see beyond colour".

Naitanui, who is of Fijian heritage and an AFL multicultural ambassador, tweeted "education is the key" after one of his followers called him a "black n…..".

Further investigation revealed the racial sledges go back almost a year when, posting under a different Twitter handle in May, Vinh Nguyen responded to a Naitanui tweet with: "Shut the f… up n…..."

Mr Nguyen then told the ruckman he would love to meet "so I can bash your tall black ass".

West Coast did not comment but Naitanui responded to a tweet by _The Weekend West, _saying: "Education is the key my man! Would happily devote my time to help him see beyond colour #yougoinlearntoday."

Mr Nguyen said he was unapologetic about the tweets and had used the offensive term to get Naitanui's attention.

"It wasn't a racial thing," he said. "I was trying to tell him that I didn't like him. It's basically trolling and people are trying to make it out like it was racist."

When asked if he would take issue with people directing racially offensive terms towards his Vietnamese heritage, Mr Nguyen said: "No." He said the incident had "got out of hand".

Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Allanah Lucas labelled the Naitanui abuse "dire" and said she could not understand why some people still thought such behaviour was acceptable.

"It is not OK face-to-face and it is not OK on any form of electronic media," Ms Lucas said.

"So many people do things like this out of ignorance."

Ms Lucas said the Twitter abuse did not come under the WA Equal Opportunity Act 1984 but could be challenged under the Federal Race Discrimination Act.

Naitanui jumped on the front foot last year after Sudanese-born North Melbourne sensation Majak Daw was the target of racial abuse from spectators.

"It is pretty sad and disheartening," Naitanui said at the time. "I have had it happen to me. It is bad that it still does happen. It wouldn't happen on the field. It is probably more an educational thing for guys behind the fence."

The West Australian

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