Elijah Taylor says he’s received racial abuse on social media after he and his girlfriend broke the AFL’s strict biosecurity rules.
Taylor has been suspended for the rest of the season after girlfriend Lekahni Pearce entered the Sydney Swans’ COVID-19 hub accommodation in Perth when she was not authorised to do so.
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The Swans were also fined $50,000 for the breach, with $25,000 suspended and $25,000 included in their 2021 soft cap.
But on Tuesday night the saga took a disgusting twist as Taylor revealed the racist abuse he’s been receiving as a result.
Just days out from the beginning of the AFL's Indigenous Round, Taylor became the latest Indigenous player after the likes of Eddie Betts, Harley Bennell and Liam Ryan to be targeted online with racist abuse.
The 19-year-old posted an Instagram screenshot of a racist message he’d received where he was called a “monkey”, among other derogatory terms.
“Honestly I'm extremely sorry for being selfish with my actions. I know what I've done not only affected me and the players but many others that all love the game,” Taylor wrote on Instagram.
“I understand that a lot of people are angry but racism really doesn't fix anything.”
The Swans shared Taylor’s message and condemned the racist abuse via their social media channels.
“Elijah made a bad decision and he now has to deal with the consequences,” the club posted on Twitter.
“He should not be the subject of abuse. There is NO place for racism.
“This week is about celebrating the Indigenous players in our game. It shouldn't be about this.
“Enough is enough. It must stop.”
Elijah made a bad decision & he now has to deal with the consequences.— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) August 18, 2020
He should not be the subject of abuse. There is NO place for racism.
This week is about celebrating the indigenous players in our game. It shouldn’t be about this.
Enough is enough. It must stop. pic.twitter.com/lYk9AQkZE2
Girlfriend breaks silence amid AFL scandal
Also on Tuesday, Pearce broke her silence on the scandal, saying it was “easy” to get into the Joondalup Resort to see Taylor.
“No security, I didn’t see a security guard,” she told 7NEWS Perth.
“I just walked through, went to his room. That’s how easy it was.”
Pearce reportedly had to cross a golf course and jump two fences to get into the Joondalup Resort, a claim she denies.
“I am sorry for everything,” she said. “And like, we did make a really big mistake.”
Pearce and Taylor were reportedly discovered by two senior Swans players, who notified head of football Charlie Gardiner.
WA Police have notified the Swans that Taylor can continue his quarantine with the team, while his partner will also be required to quarantine for 14 days.
“It’s very disappointing,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said on Sunday.
“The AFL gave us every assurance this wouldn't happen. The Swans have let us down, the AFL has let us down. We're disappointed in both organisations.
“I received an apology from the AFL this morning. I appreciate that but ... they promised us this wouldn't happen and they let us down.”