According to “The Herald Sun”, AFL boss, Gillon McLachlan has expressed regret and sorrow for the AFL’s handling of the booing of now – retired Sydney Swans’ player, Adam Goodes last year.
McLachlan stated in the annual report that the AFL was way too slow in handling the situation that had gotten out of hand:
By the time Adam retired, he had been subject to a level of crowd booing and behaviour that none of the players should ever face.
My heart broke for Goodes when this happened. It (I think quite unnecessarily), started a debate about whether the booing happened because of Goodes’ Indigenous heritage. Does it really matter? A man was essentially bullied out of his workplace. The AFL has finally admitted it. Hopefully, they’ll act to make sure that no – one gets the same treatment.
Here’s the tiresome debate that occurred: was the booing inspired by racism? It’s not for us to say. We can’t say exactly what Goodes felt or even how other Indigenous people felt when it happened.
In light of this incident, Prime Minister Indigenous Adviser, Warren Mundine, lashed out at those who said that the booing wasn’t race related and columnist, Andrew Bolt’s continuous criticism of how a then – 13 – year -old girl was treated by the AFL and Goodes after she yelled a racial slur at a Sydney Vs. Collingwood game. He offered an emotional admission of how racism had affected him personally.
I really hope McLachlan meant what he said and that all the AFL work cooperatively to make sure that no one feels discriminated against; that goes for both players and the fans who attend the game. I do give credit to AFL who are starting to work on combating sexism, racism and homophobia in their games. I hope it continues. Like I’ve said before, whether anyone likes to admit it or not, football codes, especially the AFL and NRL need to continue to build a social conscience in which makes bullying and discrimination unacceptable. They need to be made unacceptable in the games because they need to be unacceptable in society. Children who enjoy the game deserve nothing less. Neither does anyone else.