The following is a statement on behalf of Newcastle Knights lock Mitch Barnett.
Racism has no place in society, and no place in the game.
I am many things. A son, a husband, a teammate.
I am not a racist and I did not racially abuse Tyrone Peachey.
I cannot be clearer on this.
To be accused of such a thing is heartbreaking.
I am far from perfect and have many flaws, but I did not do what I was accused of.
It’s not who I am.
While I am shattered to be accused of such an act, one positive to come from all of this is it has generated a conversation around racism.
It is a conversation that needs to continue and extends beyond rugby league.
Players should call out discrimination and I support Tyrone in speaking out.
I hope Tyrone continues to receive support from the game and his Club.
However, that does not change the fact I did not say what I was accused of saying.
While in this case, there was a misunderstanding, I hope this situation has made everyone more conscious of the evils of racism.
I would like to thank the NRL Integrity Unit for its thorough investigation.
I also thank the Club and my teammates for their support and the incredible supporter base who were measured in their thoughts around this situation.
I don’t want to be known for this and this won’t define me or my reputation.
I look forward to putting this matter behind me and focusing on the finals series.