‘Racism’, ‘ape’, ‘13 year old girl’ – all words that I had never seen
the likes of in sports media until the last week. It had the nation talking about our integration, or lack there of, of Indigenous Australians. This is a term I really hate. Can’t we just say the one word – Australians? Have you ever called a mate ‘Asian Australian’ or ‘European Australian’?
To save you trawling through the 4 squillion articles about Adam Goodes that came out this week, I have put together a list of what is going on.
- Adam Goodes is an AFL player for the Sydney Swans, Aussie of the year 2014, advocator against racism, founder of ‘The Goodes O’loughlin Foundation’ and an all round good guy.
- Adam had a 13 year old girl removed from a football stadium for calling him an “ape” as she sat in the crowd and insists he didn’t know the girl was so young. He gained support for calling out blatant racism but was vilified for singling out a child.
- Hawthorn fans in the crowd booed Adam as they disagree with him for claiming free kicks when there is no cause for a penalty. No harm there. Fans vs. player is standard sporting behaviour.
- During the indigenous round this year, Sydney vs. Carlton, Adam scored a goal and celebrated by doing a traditional indigenous war dance to the opposition’s supporters. He was scrutinised for purposely taunting the fans, despite it being a proud traditional dance.
- After the dance Carlton fans booed Adam in retaliation for the war dance and obvious taunting. No real harm was done, it was a back and forth between a player and the fans.
- The subsequent round is where it escalates. The ENTIRE opposition’s crowd boo Adam at every single game he plays for weeks and weeks on end.
- Rumours start to rumble – Is this merely fans giving the player flak or is it racially motivated? The AFL sit and hope it will stop on its’ Commentators and other fans have their fingers crossed that this will be the case too, as the media pay little attention to the issue.
- After weeks of booing any time he had the ball, Adam Goodes last week decided not to play his next match. He claims racism is the motivation behind the incessant booing, thus the media storm ensues.
So what is really going on here? Is it racially motivated or just punters giving a player a hard time? It seems far too convenient that Adam is the only person that this is happening to, and that he just happens to be Indigenous.
I would say, at the very least, it was strong bullying on a large scale, and for weeks on end, which is enough to take anyone down.
For a man who has stood so strong for equality and has proudly displayed his Indigenous heritage, it is clear that he felt he was being singled out based on racism. Taking a week off, whether it was a calculated move or not, has sparked a serious debate around underlying racism in Australian culture.
There has been arguing, finger pointing, blaming, solidarity and support, rage, sadness, division and inclusion. It has been an absolute s@#t storm in the media for good reason. Adam has ignited the discussion of this issue and that is a good thing in itself. He has put the subject in every home, dinner party, pub, office, back yard, footy field, newspaper, radio and television to be talked about and understood as a real issue that occurs daily.
Thanks to Adam Goodes, the 35-year-old footy player from Wallaroo, SA, we are finally addressing racism once again. Everyone within this nation that considers them selves to be Australian and holds their citizenship with pride – is an Australian, and conversations like this are a stepping stone towards tru inclusivity of all cultures.
P.S. Despite the media-bashing of the AFL this week, it really is a great sport with amazing supporters, which is why so many of us are saddened by these events. With almost freakish timing, Adam Goodes returned to play this weekend’s Multicultural round!