Essendon forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has issued a powerful statement after he became the latest AFL star to be subjected to racism from a fan on social media.
Despite not playing in his side's 49-point elimination final loss to the Western Bulldogs on Sunday, McDonald-Tipungwuti was bizarrely singled out in a comment from a fan on one of Essendon's Facebook posts following the match.
After the club condemned the fan's post in a statement on Monday, McDonald-Tipungwuti issued his own response on his personal Instagram account.
"As a society we should never define anyone by the colour of their skin, religion, race, culture or ability," his post read.
"In Australia we are one people and a diverse community that should be galvanising together instead of ripping each other apart.
"My family and I like many others are separated by distance and Covid restrictions which has made this year very difficult for all. We all feel isolated and we should be using our words to unite us in the face of adversity."
The club has identified that while the fan is a supporter of Essendon, he is not currently a registered member of the football club.
McDonald-Tipungwuti has been an integral part of Essendon's line-up since making his debut back in 2016, but missed the final month of the season due to personal reasons.
Essendon condemned the fan's social media in a powerful statement punctuated by the words "it has to stop".
"The club has attempted to contact the individual on several occasions on Monday morning and the individual has ignored our attempts to discuss the matter," the Bombers said in a statement.
"Vilification, racial or otherwise, has absolutely no place in our society. This must stop now, and it starts with all of us in calling out this vile behaviour.
"The Essendon Football Club stands in total solidarity with McDonald-Tipungwuti and will continue its fight against racism."
Essendon also condemned abuse aimed at Bulldogs youngster Cody Weightman, who incited the ire of Bombers fans by kicking four goals, all from free kicks, in Sunday's final.
"The club condemns any abuse directed toward opposition players in light of the result following Sunday's match or at any time," the statement said.
"It is hurtful, unnecessary, and not in the spirit of our great game."
Weightman was one of the Bulldogs' best performers in the match that allowed Luke Beveridge's side to book a spot in this weekend's semi-final against the Brisbane Lions.