AFL and the Dark Ages

On one side of the globe, an African – American US President confirms his support of gay marriage; meanwhile, the AFL chooses not to recognise adoptive children under the Father / Son rule………………..words fail me as to the attrocity of this decision. Forgive my cyncism (it is merely my form of outrage) but it appears that adoption does not have the same level of political cachet as Prayer Rooms, female umpires or Long Walks. Where are you Peter Bell?
I would welcome the AFL spin doctors to explain this decision to my two adoptive kids.


  1. Hey there NoJoy, the AFL’s reasoning for not accepting adopted father/son draft picks is that the possibility of getting an ex 100 game player to adopt an up-and-coming youngster exists. It is a possible loophole that teams could exploit in order pay a pittance for future stars. The AFL has also come out recently and said their might be a little wiggle room, ie, if you’ve lived together with your adopted child for longer than 5 years, etc.

    Your outrage is misplaced. This is not discrimination against a religion, a gender or a race. It is an attempt to plug up an apparent loophole in one of the greatest rules that still exists in the modern era, the father son rule.

  2. John Harms says

    Scott, I think you are missing NoJoy’s point. You have argued from within the footy bubble with a very footy-centric response. NoJoy is arguing more broadly. I think he is saying that an organisation which claims to be socially progressive can’t pick and choose its moment, else its motives might be questioned. Cynics might say that the AFL’s inclusiveness and agitation emerge from the PR department and from the marketing department. They could produce evidence to establish a strong case. I understand that argument but I don’t buy it, as I think it is too simplistic. There are almost always complexities. eg The Indigenous round reflects genuine appreciation of the place of Indigenous players in footy while also having a PR/marketing dimension.

  3. John, I think you may have read my simplistic answer and thought I missed the point. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe both yourself and NoJoy are imagining an imagined stigma against adopted children that simply does not exist in this society. A VAST amount of the population would no doubt agree that it is the person who raised you that is your parent, regardless of genetics or blood or the colour of your skin. Discrimination against adopted children just doesn’t happen in this day and age, there simply is no stigma against adoption. For somebody to jump to the conclusion that the AFL is attempting to discriminate against adoptive sons is a huge leap. Hence why I explained the AFL’s thinking, as opposed to writing this response in the first place.

  4. Just as a further point. How many websites do you think you could find in Google if you searched for indigenous hate sites? How adoption hate sites can you find? At worst adoption makes some strange people feel uncomfortable. For the rest of it is as normal as child birth. Is it more likely the rule is a snub to adopted children or a legitimate attempt to plug a rule loophole?

  5. Mark Doyle says

    This response is an over reaction to the recent issue of adopted sons to be eligible for AFL father/son recruitment. It is a typical response in our secular society, where people live only in the moment.
    I am not sure how it became an issue, but suspect some smartarse kiteflying journalist is responsible.
    I think we need to take a deep breath and wait for the AFL administration to develop a policy before commenting.
    With respect to the cynical attitude to the AFL administration’s policies and leadership on being tolerant to discriminated groups of people such as women, aborigines and muslims, I believe that these policies should be supported. The AFL CEO, Andrew Demetriou, has especially shown excellent leadership for a more humane and tolerant society on these issues; his essay on this subject ( I think he was specifiically advocating a more humane treatment of refugees who seek asylum in Australia ) which was printed in The Age newspaper a few years back is worth a read, if it is available. Cynical comments are generally by people who are either illinformed, anti-feminist, rascists or bigots.

  6. Prior to about 1994 a birth certificate for an adoptee was labelled with a code and other inappropriate wording which indicated adoption. Now there is nothing to indicate anything other than a normal parental situation.
    If the AFL were to request biological information outside of the legal official birth certificate then they would be guilty of discrimination.
    It is almost impossible that the Courts would approve the adoption of a teenager with living relatives.
    It is the off-the-cuff remarks of legally uninformed AFL spokesmen in the past week that is so upsetting to people affected by this sensitive issue.
    So the AFL needs to update their traditional position. Either cancel the father son rule or acknowledge they have no legal right to meddle in other people’s privacy.

  7. Mark, can I assume that when you say that “this response is an over reaction” that you are referring to your own? You also forgot to suggest that i’m a communist and homophobe in your final sentence. The ultimate cynic in this case is the AFL who are rightly or wrongly suggesting that children will be traded for sporting gain – in the end unfortunately, they are probably right to be wary of such. I would’ve hoped for a more informed and sensitive treatment of the topic from a Billion dollar operation. The potential guideline of being a legally recognised adoption for x number of years is so fundamentally obvious; remembering that to get such recognition in the first place takes a bit more time and effort than lodging a form at the post office and waiting 6 weeks. If an organisation chooses to assume the high moral ground and wear it as a badge of honour, it cannot make half arsed attempts at policy design as they have done in this case.

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