AFL Victoria and Victoria Police are investigating claims that North Melbourne’s US import Eric Wallace was racially vilified while playing for North Ballarat against Port Melbourne at North Port Oval on Saturday.
Wallace was believed to have been racially abused by fans at the ground at the end of the match that Port Melbourne won emphatically.
AFL Victoria communications manager Anthony Stanguts said in a statement: “AFL Victoria is currently speaking with both clubs to find out more information about alleged racial comments made by a member/s of the crowd at North Port Oval today.
“This sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable at VFL matches, or at any level of the game, and will not be tolerated.”
Disappointed VFL fans vented their anger via Twitter at what happened at the ground with comments such as: “Depressing day for both the Roosters and football in general. Racism has no place in our game.”
North Ballarat coach Gerard FitzGerald said after the match that he didn’t know of any racial vilification and was more focused on the Roosters’ return to the VFL finals next week against Werribee.
Wallace, who is yet to make his AFL debut with the Roos, has shown promising form in the VFL this season. At 196 centimetres and 102 kilograms, he was signed by the Roos as an international rookie in December 2012.
Wallace was promoted as the Roosters’ primary ruckman this year after a season in the Roosters’ now disbanded development team.
In one match, he racked up 54 hit-outs and has been influential as a
ruckman. He is considered to be a project player, much like Majak Daw.