Melbourne’s Ryan Papenhuyzen says NRL players, along with their AFL cohorts, have received death threats and been attacked on social media by people unhappy over betting outcomes.
The young Storm star on Monday retweeted a post by Brisbane AFL midfielder Mitch Robinson, lashing those making threats and offensive comments towards players.
“Not one AFL player gives a flying f*** how we cost you a $100 multi, it’s $5 bet you idiot. If you’re struggling with that amount please don’t punt in the first place. Death threats & ‘hope you do your ACL next game’ I dare say we won’t pay you out either,” Robinson tweeted.
The Lions ace received support from other AFL players in West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui and GWS midfielder Callan Ward, who revealed he received death threats after winning a controversial free kick late in his side’s win over Essendon.
Robinson’s stance was also backed by Boomers veteran Andrew Bogut.
Papenhuyzen said he too had been targeted, and believed he was not alone.
He said he’d received death threats this season and in 2019.
“I don’t think that’s a surprise to any players; I think the majority would have,” the 22-year-old said on Monday.
“Lots of the boys after a game do get a fair bit of stick from fans and punters.
“We don’t go out there to lose peoples’ bets, we don’t go out there to make our Supercoach score as low as possible, we go out there to get a win.
“I thought what Mitch (Robinson) tweeted was true … and hopefully more is done around that because the toll it has on players is pretty massive.”
Papenhuyzen said he’d been told by his club to try to ignore the threats and comments but admitted it was unsettling.
“It probably gets swept under the carpet because we probably don’t have a place to comment on it or it makes you a target if you do go at it,” he said.
“”I think it’s for the people higher up to figure out and crack down on that a bit harder because us as players, if we say something it usually comes to bite us on the bum.”
However, NRL’s head of football Graham Annesley has encouraged players to report the unacceptable abuse to be investigated confidentially by the Integrity Unit.
“Authorities do have ways to track these things down and I would certainly encourage any players or officials that are the subject of these threats to bring them to the NRL and we’ll deal with them appropriately and quickly,” he said.
With the help of police, the NRL has previously tracked down and punished online abusers who have targeted players and referees.