MITCH Barnett says the people who matter believe his version of events after he agreed to disagree with Tyrone Peachey about what was said at CBus Super Stadium on Friday night.
Peachey approached the referee during Gold Coast's 36-6 win against Newcastle to tell him: "That back-rower called me a black c--t."
The allegation sparked an investigation from the NRL integrity unit, which ultimately reached an inconclusive verdict and arranged a conciliation process for both players, who have since spoken on the phone.
Barnett admitted on Thursday that he had sworn at Peachey on the field but denied using any racial slur.
"The people that know me, believe me," Barnett said.
"And that's all that matters to me. But at the end of the day, I know I didn't say those things and I know in my heart I'm innocent."
Barnett said he had a "frank and open conversation" with Peachey, but they do not appear to have reached any resolution.
Peachey was quoted on Wednesday as saying: "Let me reiterate, I know exactly what I heard and stand by my statement."
Barnett said it was a "difficult situation" for both parties.
"I know what I said, and his story's different,'" he said.
"It's just two blokes who agree to disagree now ... I don't know Tyrone well enough to know if he believed me or not.
"But I just know that I didn't say it. I know word for word what I said."
Barnett said there were "no winners in all this ... it's a horrible situation for everyone, but I'll move forward".
The 26-year-old revealed he and family members had been targeted on social media.
"It's been extremely tough for everyone involved," he said. "Not just myself but my family. Everyone's been receiving a bit of abuse, especially on social media.
"It's been horrible, but I'm very grateful for my family and the club and the boys supporting me ... all of my teammates have supported me. They know I didn't say those things.
"I can't thank them enough. They know the person that I am, and they've supported me through the whole thing. I'm very grateful for it."
Barnett said he first learned of Peachey's allegation after arriving back at Newcastle airport on Friday night.
Initially he was "shocked", and then endured several sleepless nights.
He admitted to a verbal exchange with Peachey after helping tackle him, but insisted it amounted to nothing more sinister than "a couple of swear words".
He was confident the issue would not be a distraction as the Knights prepare for their first play-off game in seven years, against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
"I don't think so," he said.
"If anything, it's made me realise that the boys are supportive because we're a tight group of boys. If anything, it's brought us closer."
The two-time Danny Buderus Medallist was concerned about his reputation, despite no evidence emerging to support Peachey's allegation.
"I can change people's perceptions with my actions from now on," Barnett said.
"So that's what I'm going to do. Obviously it won't define me."
In a statement on the Knights' website, Barnett said: "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 ...
"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."