After another strange opinion piece, the people of South Australia ask what is wrong with Mark Robinson?

Just a couple of weeks after ruining a reasonable piece on marriage equality by fetishizing a married couple’s brief kiss, now it’s time for Mark Robinson’s take on racism in football. “Everyone’s thinking it, so let’s say it” he writes, “What is wrong with the people of South Australia?” [Read Mark Robinson’s piece – actually, that’s right, you can’t because it’s behind a pay wall – JTH]

Woah, hold up Mark, let me stop you right there. Everyone? Are you sure about that? The people of South Australia would like to know what right and on what basis you claim to speak for everyone (see what I did there). We saw what happened last time you claimed to write on behalf of a group of people; it got really creepy. Maybe you should drop that rhetorical device.

Not to worry, let’s move on. Next question you ask: “Why does racism continue to explode at football matches there?” While it would be preferable, if messy, that racists explode at football matches here, your question is easy to answer: because racists attend football matches here. I’ve got bad news for you, though. Racists attend football matches in Victoria… and Western Australia. In fact it’s so prevalent it’s probably fairly pointless to isolate one member of this great Commonwealth of ours that is renowned through all the lands. It distracts from an issue that’s best tackled together.


“Have you seen the video?”

Which video? The one of the fight that has nothing to do with racism but everything to do with drunken idiots on a Saturday night? Oh no, you mean the video, responsibly made by Channel 7, of the racist Facebook lady. The one where they exploitatively gave her as much rope that they could dole out and made the resulting bilgeflow the story; instead of reporting that the Police were investigating the woman for using a carriage service to menace or harass. The one that didn’t explode at a football match so is really outside the scope of your initial hyperbole.

Yes, we saw that video. Didn’t like it very much – intolerable. Just as well people like this only exist in SA.


“Of course, not all South Australians are racists and stupid.”

Not all of us? Phew. I do feel somewhat damned with faint praise, though. Like it could be the equivalent of saying “not all footy journalists are white middle aged men desperate to trade controversy for relevance”. Could you also clarify that the above is not intended to convey a Venn diagram that looks something like this?


“But what are we supposed do think from across the border?”

So you’re just speaking on behalf of Victorians, now? Or is it only states and territories that share a border with South Australia? I’m not sure how the residents of Tasmania, the ACT and the Australian Antarctic Territory feel about being dropped from your ‘everyone’ constituency but, no doubt, they’ll get over it in the fullness of time.

Nonetheless, you are asking South Australians what you are supposed to think? An incredibly kind invitation, Mark, and one that is long overdue. However, we are great believers in teaching people not what to think but how to think. I reckon you’re ok on that front; you’re about to get to the ‘this is an issue for everyone’ point despite the fact it contradicts the premise of your article.

If you really want advice, you could think exactly what we thought when Adam Goodes pointed to a Collingwood supporter on the MCG and every time he was loudly booed at Victorian grounds after that: we need to do better.


“South Australians should be angry.”

We are. The vast, vast majority of us really dislike racism – even more than we dislike convict heritage. We also quite dislike cheap shots.


“You are being harpooned today, but direct your angst where it can best be served.”

We were in the middle of doing that until a couple of Victorian journalists decided to take pot shots rather than focussing on the real issue at hand. Nice use of the passive there, too, mid harpoon fling. It’s another one of those ‘acknowledging people won’t like the thing I’m saying somehow makes saying it ok’ things, isn’t it? Didn’t work last time either.

We already think racism is terrible and the people have been appropriately dealt with. Where should our angst now be directed? Why should we have angst? Surely it is only briefly helpful in dealing with this issue. In understanding the hurt that the actions of a reckless few causes. In standing together, across borders, reaffirming our commitment to no more. Angst is only being further fomented by people and organisations who have something to gain.


“Make a stronger stand at the footy. Say no. Call people out. Dob them in. Not just these two people and the other guy who abused Eddie and was booted from the ground, and the ignoramus who abused Patty Ryder, but everyone who screams abuse.”

We did, we do. The two cases of racist abuse in the ground were immediately called out by nearby fans and dealt with promptly. One abuser quickly fled while the other was out of the stadium (sans membership) and into Port Adelaide’s excellent Indigenous Cultural Awareness program before Rory Sloane even had the Showdown Medal around his neck.

If you are alleging other instances of racist abuse at the ground that were not dealt with on Saturday night I’m sure the two clubs and the Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority are keen to hear from you. Because you were there in the stands weren’t you, Mark? So you’d know what the atmosphere was like.

Seeing as, with the exception of the two abusers, SA fans’ stand on racist abuse appears to be as strong as it could be I’m guessing your call for a stronger stand at the footy is actually about the structural integrity of the Riverbank Stand. Our finest engineers tell me your concerns are unfounded. They do need a new grandstand at Glenelg, though, if you’re thinking of chipping in.


“Surely we’re better than this.”

Indeed we are, Mark, indeed we are. Once again, racist abuse is never, ever ok. Shaun Burgoyne’s words and his clear expression of hurt really require no further words, just greater dissemination. Meanwhile what could be a story of progress – clear demonstration that people no longer tolerate racism at the footy, even in the most tense of atmospheres in Australian football, instead gets used by some to isolate; hurl unnecessary harpoons.

Surely we’re better than this – we’re getting there but we’ll only get there together.


About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. McAlmanac says

    Mark Robinson is simply an inarticulate slob who writes poorly.

  2. Earl O'Neill says

    Idiots like Robinson aren’t worthy of your time.

  3. Well said DB. Unfortunately we don’t have a Murdoch daily over here to digest the full wit and wisdom of ‘Robbo’, but I did catch his half-distilled thought bubbles on AFL 360 last night. I had been musing about reasons for the proliferation of incidents at Adelaide Oval. Here goes:
    1) The recent paucity of good indigenous footballers means that Eddie cops all the stick. Paddy’s good early form and being ex-WA and Victoria – makes Adelaide Oval an equal opportunity bomb range for both racism and state-based xenophobia. Adam has retired taking the bullseye off the shooting range. Cyril and Shaun are lights of other days. Buddy plays in Sydney and no one cares about footy there – and he has built a residue of goodwill in WA and Victoria through past deeds. Young Dean Rioli needs to watch himself next time in Perth if he plays like that against my Eagles again. The rest can be laughed off as hopeless jokes or water buffaloes. Only clear and present threats are worthy of vitriolic abuse.
    2) Bacher Houli needs to lift his game. Dreamtime at the G with 60,000 vengeful red-sashed (red-haired) Bomber Pauline supporters baying for him to be sent “back” to Afghanistan on the next boat. Peter Dutton would like to dog whistle that. Racism would dwindle if we had a red hot go at Islamophobia. (Waleed Ali is a Tigers fan – and Bacher’s recruiting is part of the ISIS master plan). I’ll send you the link to the website where I read that – Breitbart News?
    3) Adelaide Oval is the only footy ground that has retained a mound where the drunks/idiots/racists can intermingle. You need the DMZ of an all-seater stadium. Keeps the North and South Koreans apart. Maybe you could build a wall…..
    4) Got me thinking about my youth on the mounds at the SANFL in the 70’s. Never racially abused a footballer. I think Martin Luther King had a great impression on me, and abuse on the basis of race/skin colour always seemed profoundly stupid and unfair. But sexuality – that was another matter. Large number of opponents (PGallagher and NPettingill – Norwood come to mind) frequently copped the unfriendly epithet of “gi-ls; she–as; or the worst poo–as”. My own West Torrens players copped the first two regularly, and Jack Darling has come close in recent years – but “pi–ow bi–rs” was reserved for opponents. I seriously had to reflect on the illogicality of my intemperate rants and I have steeled myself to avoid all gender/sexuality abuse in the last 5 years. “Idiot” and “di—ead” seem to be as bad as I go these days. Apologies to the intellectually disabled and the unendowed.
    Progress? Hope you take these thoughts back to Jay Weatherill’s Interdepartmental Working Party for Di—ead Retraining. Swish and I are happy to come back and do a consultancy report. Must be time for Sam Newman to do another Street Talk at Arndale.
    “Noone ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the (insert here) people”. HL Mencken.

  4. Strange land we live in where Robbo gets paid to write that and Dave B does this gratis.

    I think the real story is that it is a story. 400,000 people go to the footy and two dills make racist comments. And get their comeuppance. I know we’d rather it was zero, but, people being people and all… two (2)!! That’s the cast of Waiting for Godot. (Not suggesting the IQs are equivalent) I reckon we’ve seen an almost entirely successful cultural revolution in my lifetime. Congrats, Oz.
    Sadly, I don’t think we’ll get it below two. I think we’ll just have to say, “Oh, there they are. There are the two. There’s the dark part of our nature we must guard against.”

  5. Ben Footner says

    Great response to another piece of gutter journalism.

    Here’s a thought – perhaps the ‘greater’ proliferation of racist incidents in Adelaide is actually due to the fact that South Australians are bravely standing up and calling out such incidents, resulting in them being reported and dealt with, as opposed to them being ignored or dismissed as acceptable behaviour.

  6. Robbo 7.32pm (AET) tonight – AFL 360 idiot sheet (I wonder what they call Gerard’s):
    “I am gratified and humbled to see and hear the response to my call to arms……………………………….”
    (Mark my words)

  7. James Grapsas says

    Great response, Dave. Bravo.

  8. Punxsu.... Pete says

    I’d pay top dollar to watch that ignoramus cower after reading this Dave.

  9. rabid dog says

    Well done Dave. Mark needs to read some of the social media stuff coming from my friends/colleagues/acquaintances throughout Adelaide to know just how pissed off people are by racist dicks.

  10. Haha… Dave, on behalf of the “people of South Australia”, you’ve inadvertently answered his question (which I doubt many over here bothered to read/ponder)!

  11. Brilliant Dave you nailed it thank you

  12. Robbo: So here’s a story about appalling prejudice in which I display appalling prejudice (among other appalling stuff).

    Excellent work DB.

  13. Brilliantly written DB you articulate how many fans from both clubs feel. I hope this has been submitted as letter to the editor of the fish n chip wrapper Drongo um sorry Robbo writes.
    It must be difficult to write opinion pieces with crayons. Not only would the get stuck between his teeth while chewing. I’d assume they’d melt a jam the keyboard.

  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Sean Spicer’s dad was a travelling insurance salesman about 50 years ago. He may have had Bendigo on his route (or something like that).

  15. DanBIllin says

    The AFL has a problem with racism. At all grounds. Maybe the Herald Sun and Slobbo should lay off wogball and have a crack at the indigenous code.

  16. E.regnans says

    Fine application of logic and reason, D Brown.
    You may have spawned a new “critical text analysis” genre of article.
    That could keep a few people busy.

    Agree wth ajc

  17. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for he read and the comments all.

    I think the reason for the dislike of Eddie is much simpler, PB (both SA clubs have had plenty of Indigenous footballers over the years): he has kicked 27 goals in 7 Showdowns and the Crows have now won three on the trot. They don’t like Eddie because he beats them and a very small number feel the need to express that dislike in racial terms. I suspect the Paddy abuse would’ve come soon after the hit that saw him suspended. In a way it’s like when people criticise certain journos based upon their appearance (particularly if they are women) – totally irrelevant but in the heat of anger the insulter shows their true colours. Perhaps we actually need to teach people to be better at insults. The suggestion (tongue in cheek in your case but not elsewhere) to build a whole new stand to deal with a twice a year 30 second punch-on seems like using a nuke to crack a walnut. I’m the same re. barracking habits in my earlier days.

    Agreed AJC – would be nice if much (any?) of media had the ability to display that level of nuance in their reporting. It’s much easier to mic up an idiot in the shadow of the Port Adelaide lighthouse.

    In my day job, Ben, I have over the years developed performance management frameworks for a number of programs. The challenge is always convincing bosses that a well designed system will find things going wrong while a poorly designed one will not.

    Still waiting for the twitter block, Pete.

    While the point is earnest, the delivery is very much tongue in cheek, Crio (and in full acknowledgment of chip placement).

    As long as he never uses the brown crayon, Adrian.

    It’s fun ER, that’s for sure.

  18. David Zampatti says

    Nice work DB. Robbo’s spray is up there with “Why don’t Muslim leaders speak out against terrorism” and the perennial “appeal” by police after particularly blood-splattered weekends on the roads for “the public to take more care when driving”. (Which, of course, they do – the ones that didn’t aren’t up for advice anymore.)

  19. Tabloid Journalism 101 – Chapter 3 – “Arsonist rescues child from burning building”

  20. As i don’t read the Murdoch papers i can bypass the pap Robinson, with others of that ilk, write.

    Sadly he gets a spot on Murdoch’s TV channel , a channel i pay to watch. Him being on the same show as Gerard Whately provides a book end in football coverage

    Gerard Whately takes an analytical , nuanced approach to issues in contrast to Robinson’s ranting and raving. Loud, verbose, opinionated he epitomises the Murdoch empire’s opinions of the world and those who are influenced by them.

    It is sad that a serious issue of this nature gets way laid by a buffoon like Robinson. What was that old Melbourne adage; The Herald was for those that couldn’t read, the Sun was for those who couldn’t think, then they merged them.


  21. Citrus Bob says

    As a honorary Croweater (until 2016 anyway) I congratulate you DB on your even handed approach to Robinson.
    As a Victorian I can only apologise for his holier than thou attitude to the game that we all love.
    I acknowledge my indigenous brothers such as Eddie Betts with pride and affection and congratulate them on their stand against racism.
    What we need is more white fellas dobbing in these racist morons who more than likely are stirred up by the likes of Robinson.
    Citrus Bob

  22. Tony Robb says

    Robbo is a buffoon and dill. His opinion pieces are unreadable. That said I’ll be at the Port v Giants game on Saturday and I’ll will keep an hear out for any inappropriate comments from supporters that may have breached border protection as we don’t want any nonsense from that SA riff raff in Canberra. Sorry, all good. I just saw the Mincing Poodle and Bernadi driving to the airport. Everyone else welcome.

  23. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the comments. Good point David.

    I only catch that show if I’m travelling and staying in a hotel with Foxtel, Glen. Tend to change the channel. The fact that these people are needing to fill so many inches and minutes is very much the problem.

    You’ll always be an honorary Croweater, Bob. Unlikely any Essendon supporter will say much about Eddie at Adelaide Oval this weekend.

    Unlikely to be overwhelmed with Port types this weekend, Tony – they’re all saving up to go to China and didn’t much enjoy their last visit to Canberra. You might find one or two lost souls with no idea what or where UNSW Oval is though. Feel free to keep those two – SA’s full.

  24. Spot on DB.

    “You are being harpooned today…” is passive.

    It should read: “I am harpooning you today…”

    He should have continued with…”because I can. I know you all regard me as a moral authority, and my use of reason is impeccable, and I live in Victoria and I have a shit-hot job with News and Fox. And you South Australians need to take a good hard look at yourselves.”

  25. An excellent read, Dave. Thanks.

    I am a regular viewer of AFL360, and enjoy it despite Robbo’s buffoonery. There is something about the Robbo/Gerard chemistry (but I better go no further or Robbo may accuse me of implying something which I was not).
    I am, however, proud to say that I have never read one Mark Robinson column.
    The AFL should be filthy with Channel 7 for the way the latter handled the entire situation.

  26. Luke Reynolds says

    A very articulate taking apart of a very inarticulate article Dave.
    Well done.
    I often wonder what Mike Sheahan makes of his successor as ‘Chief Football Writer’.
    A large percentage of the Collingwood supporters I follow on Twitter have been ‘blocked by Robbo’….

  27. Anne Myers says

    Hi Dave,

    An excellent piece of writing. Logical, wry, witty. Even though I’m not completely up to speed with all this, your piece hummed.

  28. Great use of the Venn diagram too. Not enough Venn diagrams in the Almanac pages.

  29. Regarding some comments, please play the ball not the man. (I need to keep this in mind myself.)

    Although this is complicated when the opinion someone holds contributes to who they are. In this case, a writer taking a superior position.

  30. Daniel Flesch says

    Like all the others say – great piece , DB. However I’m wondering if it’s wise to give Robbo so much coverage. To re-iterate what’s already been said – Robbo is a pompous , ignorant , inarticulate buffoon.
    He’s one of the reasons i didn’t renew my subscription to Murdoch-vision after just one year.Two of the silliest things i heard him say in that year: 1) He was interviewing a Rugby League player and said “You must have been gutted to lose the Grand Final . Really gutted!” The player responded “No , actually. We weren’t expected to make the finals , let alone the GF . We are pleased we performed beyond everyone’s expectations…” 2) Robbo asked Jordan Lewis which players he HATED.” Lewis : “None.” Robbo :”Come on , you must hate someone!” Lewis (laughing) “No , i’m a friendly guy.” How anyone takes Robbo seriously and why Foxtel continues to PAY him is beyond me – and- i suggest many many others

  31. James Lang says

    Great write up Dave. Is it indeed the case that people here in South Australia simply don’t tolerate that kind of behaviour and call it out for the stupidity that it is?

    Robbo may need to stop opening his mouth to change feet and perhaps can reflect on the fact that SA always has been a highly progressive state.

    Sa was the first state to allow women the right to vote, had Australia’s first indigenous Governor in former star footballer Sir Doug Nicholls, produced Australia’s first male and female test cricketers of indigenous ancestry in Jason Gillespie and Faith Thomas and many of the parks in the city carry dual names in both the English and Indigenous name

    SA is also home to one of the most successful clubs in terms of producing indigenous AFL footballers in Mallee Park in Port Lincoln, Eddie Betts’ home club.

    While one of the greatest footballers of all time who just happens to be an indigenous man Adam Goodes, began his football journey at the Wallaroo Bulldogs on SA’s Yorke Peninsula.

    I can’t believe it, but I think I’m reaching Graham Cornes levels of parochialness over this one!

    Well done to those calling out the idiots who think it’s ok to be racists or even to tell those who try to make a very poor joke out of it that it’s not on. I seem to recall a Melbourne based president having to apologise for some extremely ill thought remarks on radio a few years ago

    Racism and poor behaviour is everyone’s problem, perhaps we need everyone on the same page so that we can help stamp it out

  32. Eric Weltner says

    Well said Dave.

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