There is outright condemnation for a woman who threw a banana at and allegedly racially abused Adelaide Crows’, Eddie Betts, who is Aboriginal. According to the Herald Sun, she is facing an ‘indefinite ban’ from future Port Adelaide games. Both Adelaide and Port Adelaide – including the Port Adelaide president and Sunrise co – host David Koch, have all condemned the unamed woman’s behaviour. Outrage has spilled on to social media, with Port Adelaide fans expressing their disgust, saying that it would tarr all Port Adelaide fans with the same brush. Today on his blog, Andrew Bolt condemned the woman’s father for his accusation that Betts and his defenders were playing the ‘race card’. Betts hasn’t made any comment in the media, yet.
I’m so glad that the racial abuse aimed at Betts is sparking universal condemnation, both in the AFL and the media. This is, in my opinion, a far cry from the incidents that lead to former Sydney Swans player, Adam Goodes, retiring from the game after a number of incidents that lead to his retirement, including a, frankly, cruel barrage of booing. Even though many people argued that Goodes was being too sensitive and whatnot, it obviously made the AFL management and the fans make a strong stance against racial abuse. Racial abuse now, is seen as something that is heavily stigmatised in sport. AFL fans and the media – regardless of what teams people follow – stand in solidarity with Eddie Betts and as a chorus and have decried racial abuse.
That is how it should be. Discrimination and abuse should be condemned every time it comes to light. Every. Single. Time. This time, that’s what’s happened and I applaud those in the AFL and media for doing so. Not in the form of abuse against people like the Port Adelaide supporter, but standing in solidarity with the person who the abuse was aimed at and saying unequivocally ‘NO’. No to racism. No to discrimination. Also, no to turning a blind eye, or excusing perpetrators. There is no excuse.
Also, it’s highlighted what I wrote in this post that the AFL is making a concerted effort to be inclusive and ensure that everyone – players and fans – are welcome and any abuse will not be tolerated. The AFL is making it clear that everyone is safe to be involved in the game – whether as a spectator or player. That’s only got to be a good thing.