Collingwood midfielder Travis Varcoe has revealed that he considered protesting against online trolls by not playing, after his wife discovered a racist Facebook page about him.
Varcoe decided to speak out about the racial abuse he copped online because of the recent a spate of discrimination incidents targeting Indigenous players, including North Melbourne’s Majak Daw.
He said that some of the online abuse included references to petrol sniffing among other things.
“I’m sure there’s a lot more, that she’s found but she’s never really said anything … but this one was pretty over the top,” Varcoe told ABC’s 7.30.
“When you sign up for this job, you’ve got to grow a thick skin. But not everyone is built like that and to see someone that you love and care about a lot get so affected by it, that’s when it starts to break me down inside.”
Varcoe said he wanted to see racist fans to be educated rather than punished, and for Indigenous players to be seen as people not just footballers.
“I’ve got a 15-year-old and a five-year-old sitting at home and, luckily for me, they didn’t find any of that,” he said.
“One of my biggest fears is if they come up and say, ‘Why are they doing this?’ and ‘Why are they saying that?’
“It’s pretty hard to answer back and say, ‘Well really babe it’s nothing. I can’t control what people say.
“At what stage do my children have to deal with this and get affected by this?”