Time for fans to stand up for our game

By Jill Scanlon

On Thursday, Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes commented in the media about his disgust with the fact that racial vilification from spectators still occurs in our wonderful game, more than a decade into the new century.

This comment emerged in the week following an incident during Hawthorn’s Round 4 match at Aurora Stadium in Tasmania.

Goodes suggested that the AFL needed to promote and “advertise security hotlines” at games for the reporting of offensive behaviour by spectators.

The problem being that the AFL already does do this at its major venues on match days.

What perhaps should also be looked at – aside from extending this practise to ALL venues –  is a campaign that encourages spectators not only to report offensive and anti social behaviour but to actively discourage it by causing the perpetrator discomfort and embarrassment at their behaviour.

This is not a proposition to encourage a confrontational situation but to utilise the strength of the numbers of supporters, the vast majority of whom object strongly to this overt racist behaviour.

To have your immediate personal space invaded by a single ignoramus polluting the air for all of those of us who want to embrace the reverie of our special game, is both offensive to the individual and more importantly to the masses that are AFL supporters.

While the AFL has a leading and strong role to play here, genuine supporters of the aussie rules code also have a role to play in shaping the type of atmosphere they want at games for themselves and in many cases young supporters who will carry on the tradition for decades to come.

About Jill Scanlon

Blues fan and sports lover. Development through sports advocate; producer, journalist and news follower. Insanely have returned to p/t study - a Masters of International & Community Development. Formerly with ABC International / Radio Australia in Melbourne.


  1. Jill, this is an interesting topic, the idea of the majority standing up against the offensive rogue in the crowd. The opportunity for it arises in many places: at the footy, in a mall, on a crowded train.

    And if someone makes the first move, then others will join or “cheer” the action taken. But to be the first one to make the move seems to be the hardest thing of all for us humans.

    But it is the right way to go, I think. As you say, not to create a confrontational situation, but to speak up and say, “no, this is not acceptable”. At 46 years of age, I do now do it sometimes, but it’s still not easy. You never quite know what the consequences will be.

  2. Pamela Sherpa says:

    I feel that the single biggest problem that contributes to abusive crowd behaviour is alcohol. Unless the AFL chooses to admit, then tackle this issue ugly incidents will continue.

  3. #2
    In response I have sat in licensed and unlicensed venues at all 3 mainland eastern state gourunds and have had the privelage to walk between the boundary line and the fence and have been subjected to ‘abuse’ because of the colours I happen to be wearing.
    Which dosen’t even rate comapred to the tirade ‘Buddy’ received last week.

    IMO overtime I have noticed and been on the receiving end of both ‘intoxicated’ and sober patrons abuse.

    Also in these modern times ‘intoxicated’ may not always mean alcohol there is a lot more mind altering substances available nowadays.

    Unfortunately there is no legislation ever been created for ‘stupidity’

    And as they say commion sense is not so common anymore.

    Maybe we need an ad on foxtel like the one that was to discourage umpire abuse, we have a peer pressure add to discourage this abusive behaviour.

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