The NRL says it's speaking with a junior rugby league player believed to have racially abused Brisbane star Ben Barba on social media.
Its intervention came as Barba's father Ken called on the governing body to crack down on racism, saying his son was spat on during games for the Bulldogs last year and is sick and tired of abuse.
An 18-year-old Canterbury fan sparked an Instagram row with Barba last Friday - the night Barba made his Brisbane debut against the Bulldogs - when he racially abused him on the social media network.
The NRL said on Tuesday it had been in touch with the teenager, who was registered with a Country Rugby League club.
"This is a serious matter. Racism will not be tolerated in any form," NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle said.
"Rugby League is an inclusive game and there is no excuse for behaviour that vilifies any member of the game or the community.
"We are in the process of speaking with the individual involved and his family."
Speaking to News Corp, Ken Barba said he wanted the NRL to take the same strong stance on the issue as the AFL did last year when Sydney superstar Adam Goodes was racially vilified during a game by a teenage female supporter.
"The game needs to take a stand on this," he said.
"I'm very disappointed.
"He (Ben) is constantly being degraded and I hope the NRL can find this person and do something about it because enough is enough."
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