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Indigenous Leader Furious At "Casual Racism" Of Mitchell Pearce Video

MP Linda Burney says the footage is an indictment on the NRL.

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A video showing disgraced NRL player Mitchell Pearce simulating sex with a dog continues to create controversy, with NSW deputy opposition leader Linda Burney calling on the NRL’s Integrity Unit to get tough on "racist behaviour" in the video.

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The video of Pearce, the NSW State of Origin star and Sydney Roosters co-captain, with fellow teammates, Dale Copley and Jayden Nikorima, was filmed at an Australia Day party.

An intoxicated Pearce is seen attempting to kiss a woman, urinating on a couch and simulating sex with a dog. Pearce also claims to be gay and Aboriginal in the short two-minute video.

Pearce refers to himself as Rooster prop Sam Moa and is then asked if his middle name is Blake Ferguson, Pearce's Aboriginal teammate.

"What's your middle name, Blake Ferguson?," the person filming asks a staggering Pearce who replies, "exactly".

After grabbing a dog and pretending to have sex with it, Pearce is asked to leave. The person filming yells, "His name is Sam and he's Aboriginal".

The woman who asks Pearce to leave says, "I don’t care. It’s not Redfern. We’re not claiming land rights here. Get out."

While most of the media attention has been focused on Pearce pretending to have sex with a dog, the comments about land rights have angered Burney, a proud Wiradjuri woman.

"What's really disturbing in the whole situation is the casual racism almost everyone in the video uses, it's simply not acceptable," Burney told BuzzFeed News.

Burney, who is the chair of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council, says the impetus of an intoxicated Pearce calling himself Aboriginal is that Indigenous people are drunks.

Dean Lewins / AAPIMAGE

"Any investigation by the NRL will need to cover this aspect of another disappointing episode of player behavior," she says.

"To call a drunk man Blake Ferguson speaks volumes and is unacceptable".

Burney says she's also disturbed by the response from the woman in the video, saying it's a glimpse into the casual racism used by the majority of Australians.

"Hard won land rights aren't a joke and nor is making light of the devastating effects of alcohol abuse in our community," she says.

More than 12 percent of players in the NRL identify as Indigenous and the league has heavily invested in Indigenous programs and cultural understanding training for all clubs.

In a brief statement, Pearce apologised for his behaviour earlier today, but did not specifically address his actions in the clip.

"I would like to unreservedly apologise to everyone for my actions over the last three days,” Pearce said. “My behaviour was unacceptable, I’m embarrassed and take full responsibility for my actions.”

“I acknowledge that I have a problem with alcohol and it’s something I need to address.”

Pearce has been stood down indefinitely until an investigation is finalised.

Allan Clarke is an Indigenous Affairs Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Allan Clarke at allan.clarke@buzzfeed.com.

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