An Illawarra teenager who sparked outrage after racially abusing NRL star Ben Barba via social media has gone to ground.
Dapto Canaries player Blake Taylor levelled the racial slur against Barba last Friday – the night the fullback made his Brisbane NRL debut against the Bulldogs.
The incident was first reported on Tuesday, drawing instant condemnation from players, Barba’s father Ken, and the NRL itself.
On Wednesday, Taylor’s Instagram account had been blocked and his Facebook page taken down.
The Mercury was unable to contact Taylor, however a woman who identified herself as his grandmother expressed surprise at her grandson’s behaviour.
Taylor contacted Barba via phone late Tuesday afternoon to apologise and express his remorse at his actions.
He will undergo a cultural awareness program and meet with indigenous elders after meeting with the NRL on Tuesday.
Meantime, Illawarra District Rugby League manager Chris Bannerman said he was aware of the incident, but knew no further details other than it being in the hands of the NRL Integrity Unit.
‘‘The process needs to run its course before I can make further comments,’’ he said.
‘‘We will be advised [of the outcome of the process] in due course, and we’ll see where it goes from there.
‘‘It’s in everyone’s interest to make sure all the facts are on the table ... it’s about making sure they [the facts] are dealt with properly.’’
Mr Bannerman said he had not been told a timeframe for finalising the matter.