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#AceNewsDesk – North Melbourne draftee Harry Sheezel hopes to be role model for Jewish community as he hits back at anti-Semitic abuse
New North Melbourne forward Harry Sheezel says he hopes to be a role model among the Jewish community as he launches his AFL career amid an unfortunate backdrop of online abuse
Sheezel, who on Monday night became the first Jewish person to be drafted since 1999, was the victim of anti-Semitic abuse online over the weekend.
The AFL has launched an investigation into the matter.
Speaking to Virginia Trioli on ABC Melbourne, Sheezel said the abuse was a new and disappointing experience for him.
“it actually did [surprise me],” Sheezel said.
“Playing my junior football career and at school, I actually never experienced anti-Semitism before. So I wasn’t really sure what was happening.
” It was quite disrespectful.”
Sheezel said he wasn’t letting the abuse get to him, but hoped action was taken on the perpetrators and that the wider public gained more education on the impact of anti-Semitic comments.
“I didn’t really let that stuff get to me, I try to focus on the excitement of the draft and try to make it all about that.
“Look, those kind of people are gonna say stuff. But if you let it get to you, it can affect you. So I just try and focus on what I can control.
“I just think they should probably become more educated around the around the topic, they probably should understand the harm that their words can have on people.”
Sheezel was taken with the third pick of the draft by North Melbourne, who then secured combative midfielder George Wardlaw with pick four to complete a highly successful night for the 2022 wooden-spooners.
The exciting forward says he is excited to get stuck into an AFL preseason, while also becoming a role model for his community.
“Yeah, it means a lot. The Jewish community is a big sporting community as well,” he said.
“So to be drafted, I now see myself as a role model for kids to hopefully follow in my footsteps.”Sheezel says he is excited to get to work under new Roos coach Alastair Clarkson.(Getty Images: Dylan Burns)none
Sheezel, a lifelong Hawthorn supporter, said he is particularly excited to play under new North coach and Hawks great Alastair Clarkson.
“I’m not a Hawthorn supporter anymore, I’m a North man now, which is really exciting,” he said.
“To meet Alastair Clarkson last week, it’s been pretty special and I can’t wait to play under him.”
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