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Latrell Mitchell issues powerful response after Spencer Leniu admits to Ezra Mam slur

The Roosters prop made a shock admission about the Ezra Mam controversy on Thursday.

Latrell Mitchell has taken to social media to share a powerful message about standing up to racism, after Spencer Leniu admitted to racially abusing Ezra Mam. The Roosters prop was accused by Mam of calling him a 'monkey' during the NRL blockbuster against the Broncos in Las Vegas last Sunday.

Leniu's case was sent straight to the judiciary but on Thursday, the Roosters recruit stunned the NRL world by pleading guilty to the charge. The Roosters have pushed to expedite the judiciary hearing so it would be held on Monday evening - with Leniu facing a lengthy ban expected to be at least six weeks.

Pictured left to right, Spencer Leniu and Latrell Mitchell.
Spencer Leniu's admission of using a racial slur has prompted a powerful message from Latrell Mitchell. Pic: Getty

Rabbitohs fullback Mitchell was one player who'd already spoken out about the controversy, taking to social media to throw his support behind Mam and suggesting Leniu should be banned for half the season if found guilty. Following Thursday's admission from the Roosters prop, Mitchell has again praised Mam for standing up to racism in a powerful statement about the issue.

Latrell Mitchell's powerful message about racism

“Standing up for what you believe in is the hardest thing you could ever do, that’s why not everyone can do it," Mitchell wrote alongside a photo of himself wearing the Aboriginal flag proudly. "You will either be hated or loved for doing it..

"I applaud anyone (non indigenous also) for calling racism out. This is just something now we have to stay prepared to deal with which is the saddest part. I love my culture it is something that should be shared.” Mitchell ended his heartfelt post with the hashtag #IstandwithEzra, in support of the Broncos five-eighth.

Spencer Leniu pleads guilty to slur

The controversy took a dramatic twist on Thursday when Leniu admitted his guilt, but claimed he didn't mean to use the slur in a racial way. "I want to apologise to Ezra and his family for using the word I did and I am sincerely sorry to cause him such distress," he said. I've put my hand up and want to take ownership of this. I said the word but I didn't mean it in a racist way. Anyone who knows me knows that's not who I am."

The Roosters said in a club statement: "Inclusivity of people from all cultures and backgrounds is a key and valued principle of the Sydney Roosters. The Roosters do not tolerate any form of racism and we extend our heartfelt apologies to Ezra, his family and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community."

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Roosters CEO Joe Kelly said: “Spencer has been completely open and honest throughout this process, and we will continue to support him. “We respect the judiciary process. Accordingly, the club will not be making any further comment prior to the hearing."

Seen here, Roosters prop Spencer Leniu.
Roosters prop Spencer Leniu has pleased guilty to racially abusing Ezra Mam. Image: AAP/Fox Sports

Leniu's shock admission on Thursday came after new vision emerged showing the Roosters prop yelling something towards the Brisbane players during the match. While there was no audio evidence of the slur, Channel 9 aired a new angle of the incident from in front of Leniu - showing him tackling Payne Haas before saying something to Mam in the background.

Mam could then be seen chasing after Leniu, with his teammate Billy Walters following closely in toe. Walters already confirmed that he was willing to testify to the judiciary about what he heard, while it's understood Haas was also considering doing likewise. The NRL is said to be considering the Roosters' request to hold a special judiciary hearing for the case on Monday night, before the planed hearing the following night.

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