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It must change: Newton on social media abuse

Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) CEO Clint Newton has stated the lack of accountability on social media must change, as Melbourne star Ryan Papenhuyzen revealed he and other players continue to be targeted online.

Newton commended the Melbourne Storm fullback for bringing awareness to the issue, with Papenhuyzen revealing that online threats are common for NRL players.

“We certainly commend Ryan for bringing awareness to an issue that our members are continually faced with,” Newton said.

“Online abuse is a problem we must collectively confront, but anonymity and a lack of accountability for individuals must change.

“There seems to be a misconception out there that somehow this has become part of being a professional athlete.

“To be clear it shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s workplace, nor should it be accepted as part of any person’s life.

“It incredibly hard to be compassionate towards people that are hurting you, but we need to develop ways for people to transform their pain rather than transmitting it on to others in the community.

“It’s another example of why the wellbeing support we have wrapped around players is so crucial and must remain a priority in sport.

“Online abuse must not be tolerated and we will continue to speak up and advocate for change in this space.”

Cronulla Sharks player Ronaldo Mulitalo supported Papenhuyzen’s comments on Twitter.

“This is a common thing, and some people think it’s alright,” Mulitalo added.

“At the end of the day, it’s a GAME, we have families and we have the right to feel safe after doing our jobs.

“If you are one of these people, please look at yourself.”