Diamonds defend Wallam after racist online abuse

Diamonds teammates continue to rally around Donnell Wallam (left) amid a sponsorship controversy.

Diamonds teammates continue to rally around Donnell Wallam (left) amid a sponsorship controversy. Photo: AAP

The Diamonds have taken a public stand against racist online abuse directed at Indigenous matchwinner Donnell Wallam after Netball Australia’s sponsorship saga.

Wallam became the Diamond’s third Indigenous player when she made her debut in Newcastle against England, scoring a memorable goal in the dying seconds on Wednesday night to secure a 55-54 victory.

A Noongar woman from Western Australia, the 28-year-old was cast into the spotlight this month when she raised concerns about wearing a uniform bearing the name of new sponsor Hancock Prospecting, who had tipped $15 million into the cash-strapped sport.

The late Lang Hancock made comments in the 1980s suggesting Aborigines should be “sterilised”.

Wallam’s fellow Diamonds supported her stance with mining billionaire Gina Rinehart tearing up her company’s sponsorship deal.

While Wallam thanked her supporters after the win, she revealed it had been some the “toughest weeks” of her life with some quarters blaming her for Rinehart’s brutal call.

Targeted online, the Diamonds on Friday again stood by their teammate.

“We are appalled by the online abuse directed at our players on social media,” the Diamonds said a social media post on Friday.

“As a netball community we strongly condemn racism and all other forms of personal abuse.

“These ongoing attacks are hurtful, divisive and won’t be tolerated. They need to stop.

“Netball Australia has, and will, continue to report all anti-social behaviour to the relevant authorities.”

Diamonds skipper Paige Hadley said the team was trying to shut out the “outside noise” and call out the social media abusers.

“It’s about focusing on what’s within – what matters is what’s within our bubble and how supporting each other,” Hadley told reporters on Friday.

“That process goes to show we’re not standing for the trolls or things thrown about online.

“Everyone’s going to have their opinion but … it can be really a personal attack so as a sport we’re staying united and not standing for it anymore.”

The Australians take on England in game two in Sydney on Sunday night with the third and final Test in Brisbane next Thursday.


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