FORMER NRL star Dylan Farrell has called for Group Seven operations manager Peter Mehl to be sacked following his racist comment at the recent junior AGM.
When Farrell, who captained/coach the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets in 2019, first heard what Mehl had said at the October 29 in Kiama, he was 'blown away'.
"I was extremely disappointed that someone in a leadership position and who is seen as the voice of Group Seven would think it's okay to say something like that," Farrell, who played 90 NRL games during his career with South Sydney and St George Illawarra, said.
"Especially given the high population of Indigenous players, support staff and fans we have here in our competition - more than 80 per cent of our club (Jets) is Indigenous."
What disheartens Farrell further is that fact that Mehl claims it was an off the cuff comment.
"Honestly, Peter Mehl and Roy Mills can apologise all they want but people have long memories and I know people aren't going to forget this - how does either of them expect to turn up to a Jets game in the future and look me in the face?Nowra-Bomaderry Jets captain/coach Dylan Farrell
"Casual racism is not okay and you can't try and cover it by saying it was a slip of the tongue," the 28-year-old said.
"There's no room for it in Group Seven or any sport for that matter."
Farrell was a bit hesitant at first to get involved in the incident after his uncle Wade Longbottom - who made the original formal complaint - was assured by NSWRL the situation would be adequately addressed.
But after Group Seven president Roy Mills came out publicly and tried to downplay the situation, Farrell had had enough.
"In my opinion, it's a no-brainer that Peter [Mehl] should be sacked for the comment - you just can't say it in today's society," he said.
"But for other Group Seven officials to come out and defend him, they're just as bad.
"Honestly, Peter Mehl and Roy Mills can apologise all they want but people have long memories and I know people aren't going to forget this - how does either of them expect to turn up to a Jets game in the future and look me in the face?
Related content:Group Seven boss' future still up in the air
"If I made a comment like that when I was playing in the NRL, I would have lost my job - so why are they any different?
"If nothing is done, it's a massive spit in the face to me and my people."
Farrell has urged Group Seven to do the right thing and make a strong stance against racism.
"Over the past couple of years, I've worked really hard to turn around the culture at the Jets and now this is a chance for Group Seven to show that racism has no place in our sport," he said.
If nothing is done, it's a massive spit in the face to me and my people.Nowra-Bomaderry Jets captain/coach Dylan Farrell
"To keep Peter in charge would be rubbish and tarnish the Group Seven name - they don't have to throw him under the bus but they need to take a stance.
"If nothing is done by the league, we will definitely be taking it further - I just can't see how he can keep his role moving forward.
"By not doing anything and turning a blind eye, it's showing our kids that racism is okay."
Farrell and his Jets club are expected to meet early next week, ahead of Wednesday's senior AGM at the Kiama Leagues Club.