A Garda investigation is underway after members of an underage basketball team were racially abused online.
Basketball Ireland said that the comments appeared on Ask.fm, a social media site that has previously been associated with instances of cyberbullying, and targeted players from the Ireland U15 team.
The offensive comments, which were posted anonymously, were directed at a number of individuals, singling one person out by name.
“Fuck off back to your own country yous niggers and bastards yous are not even Irish and yous are taking the real Irish people’s place on the squad,” one comment reportedly read.
“Glad [he] went back one less swine to deal with,” read another post, one which targeted a specific team member. Officials at Basketball Ireland reported the comments to the gardaí.
“In recent days, we have become aware of an outrageous message posted anonymously online concerning some of our underage players,” said Basketball Ireland president Gerard Kelly.
“Our secretary general has begun an urgent investigation which involves the site administrators of ask.fm and the gardaí. We are determined to unmask the coward or cowards behind this message.”
Mr Kelly said Basketball Ireland is adamant that there is “no room for discrimination” in its sport.
Secretary general of Basketball Ireland Bernard O’Byrne said that while the comments were initially published online, they quickly spread to other platforms, such as Facebook.
“From time to time you might get some unfortunate comments, at games or in gyms or whatever, which is addressed on the spot, but this is the first time where we, that I’m aware of, where it has gone up on Facebook and spread really throughout the basketball community,” said Mr O’Byrne.
Basketball Ireland urged anyone with information about the incident to email him on firstname.lastname@example.org and said anyone who does so will be treated “in total confidence”.
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