I Hate a Mob


I hate a mob.


I hate a witch hunt. And, frankly, hate a society that is obsessed with hate. Yeah, I know that’s a fairly negative way to start a piece, but it’s to the point.


I’m not fan of Adam Goodes. (It’s a personal story). But love the way he plays. And right is right. And he is right. Let’s look at it.


Crime one. The thing most used against him: He had a 13 year old girl thrown out for calling him an ape. She had a puffer jacket and beanie and scarf on. He heard, he pointed. How was he supposed to know her age? Any reasonable person would accept he didn’t know that. But, yeah, you’re right. In the Indigenous Round, called an ape – didn’t he know these occasions are meant to be token? How dare he make a stand over what it was exactly meant to be about!


Still, she turned out to be a kid. Maybe he should have pointed at her parents?


His second crime? Saying white history in this country is a lie. That would really get up my goat if I was a wannabe American Patriot and/or racist. I mean, how could I tell him to “Love it or Leave” if his culture is from here? I’d wish he was a refugee. Then I could say that. So frustrating!


What would make me furious is that he is right. Our history is a lie. How can we go forward if our present is built on less than the truth? It didn’t just happen 250 years ago. Before colonisation Australia was a collection of many separate nations. What we have done to them has continued via wars, pockets of genocide, slavery, mass executions, stolen children, being listed as flora and fauna, through to a Prime Minister’s calling Indigenous outback communities a lifestyle choice.


When I was a kid I was taught the Aboriginals gave up the area of Melbourne for some blankets and beads. I didn’t know any better. “It’s their own fault, they can’t have been too bright.” I thought. Yet it was a lie.


Imagine if the Japanese had invaded, won the war, 98 of 100 people on the street were Japanese, they insisted to our faces it happened peacefully, and every time we stopped to remember our fallen they shouted, “Dumb whities! Stop living in the past!”


Goodes spoke out for his culture. For truth. The nerve of him! An Australian of the Year using his platform to actually say something.




His third crime? Getting Australian of the Year over Shane Crawford. The biggest sin of all! Um, Goodes didn’t apply for it, why’s it his fault? And, surely, doing good is not a pissing contest? Seriously? “My bloke was better! Hate! Hate!” Notice the people screaming this the loudest are, 99% of the time, those who do the least for charity.


Even before he was made Australian of the Year, Goodes was one of the loudest Indigenous leaders on being complimentary about white society and the need to peacefully co-exist. That message, as Australian of the Year, is huge, can make a massive difference to so many lives. And has. He has given many impoverished and down-trodden something to aim for, a positive role model, and entire communities hope. But nobody listened when he said those things, like they don’t really listen to any Australians of the Year. They were waiting on the hate.


Goodes’ fourth crime? Doing a tribal war dance when he kicked a goal. Without approval? Without an explanation? Without being graced by the whites with his proper time and place?


Notice the people shouting for blood the most, and that is what they are doing, are the exact same crew you’ll find in the pubs and lounges across Australia pissing and moaning that all colour and spontaneity has gone from the game.


Truth is they are just haters.


Truth is they are just bitter.


It could be argued that Goodes’ cause is good, he is simply going about it he wrong way. But if that is the case, why the booing? Why the hate?


It’s true what they say – sport is a reflection of a society, of life. There is a very popular meme floating around with one Indigenous player, and the caption, “Got fined $900 for giving the finger to the crowd.” Then a photo of another. “Got fined $14,000 for having a drink on his birthday.” Then a third, of Goodes doing his dance: “Made a hero for threatening to spear opposition fans.”




If the mob who made or shared this on their Facebook pages were real Aussies, if they were laconic, rebels, lovers of the underdog, and all the things as Australians we are meant to celebrate, they would be saying,

Nobody should be bloody fined for raising their finger…”

Nobody should be fined for getting pissed on their bloody birthday!”

“Nobody should give a shit if and Indigenous player wants to do an Indigenous dance during a game celebrating Indigenous Week.”

“She’ll be right, mate.”

They should be condemning as stuffed shirted wankers anybody who says where and when and how they should be allowed to celebrate. That’s an Aussie, mate!

They should fight just as hard for the right of players to express themselves, than they should tearing down the people who do.


Where’s the colour in the game? They killed it. Not the AFL.


Trouble is, a lot of racists don’t think they are, and have resented, over the years, being told that calling someone a “Black bastard” is. They still don’t get it. They never believed it. Now, with all the right people telling them it’s okay to hate, the gate’s open!

And those sitting on the fence are caught up in the hate. The hate feeds the haters like Bolt who, in turn fed the hate to boost themselves. And then it gets ugly when the people who simply don’t like Goodes, or enjoy booing, join in.


And you have your mob.


Any society needs villains, so does any sport. Aka, Judd, Libba, Langdon, you name ithem. Someone to boo. It’s easy, it’s fun. Unfortunately, Goodes is one of those blokes, a lightning rod. A man who speaks his mind and follows his heart in a conservative, repressed, often bitter society. And rather than join in the freedom of that, we resent him for it.


Ironically, it’s not as simple as black and white. A lot of people simply don’t like the man, a lot of people, rightly, simply don’t like being told who they can or can’t boo. But the line has blurred. I’m not telling anyone to not boo, but suggest you know who you’re booing alongside, and what they’re about.


My advice, let it go.


Every action we take we are responsible for. We can cheer, we can love, we can hate.


  1. Anyone who was offended over Goodes’ war dance was determinedly so – as you say Matt waiting on the hate.

  2. Shame on those North Melbourne supporters who booed A Goodes last week.
    Mob mentality gone mad.

  3. So well put Matt. The degree is subjective. It’s the attitude that’s objective. And frightening. With the attitude in place the level of action and the spread of victims of the action can be ramped dangerously quickly. See how the Cronulla riots escalated, and the equally violent response from the victimised community. Thankfully the mob was curbed and a semblance of normality restored but it was a close run thing.

    While you’re delving into the untold history of “White Australia”, look up the expulsion of the Chinese from The Fatal Shore – from the gold fields and at the time of federation. Yet another homogenising lie from our school history reader.

    BTW, loved the war dance. I’d love to see The Bloods adopt it as their mojo. At the run through – into the banner or coming out the other side.

  4. Citrus Bob says

    Brilliant Matt. No big words just the bloody truth. I live in a large rural city where racism is rife and God forbid that we are now attracting people from all parts of the world.
    We should embrace one another not spruik about the superiority of the white Anglo Saxon Mob (WASM). If we continue you in the way we are going and I would even suggest it now we are in fact inferior. Otherwise why would we rant and rave about our superiority.

    Stick it up ’em Adam we deserve it!

  5. Dave Brown says

    Bravo, Zurbo! The only qualification I think is the boo is the one trumpet among 1000 flutes. It will be heard even if it’s only one in one thousand. I reckon rather than saying North Melbourne (or Carlton or Hawthorn or whoever) booed Goodes, we should be saying 20 twerps booed Goodes. Individualise and marginalise because they do not speak for us or our clubs.

  6. TG White says

    Thanks for being more articulate about this than I could be Matt. I’ve scratched my head in bewilderment ever since seeing the dance. I remember the Indigenous All Stars celebrating tries in the NRL All Star game a few years ago and subsequently enjoying Greg Inglis doing his goanna, and Chris Sandow his particular animal, which has been embraced and enjoyed seemingly by everyone ever since. Even if Adam Goodes borrowed his from some kids that he met that day, you rightly point out, they were Indigenous kids performing in the Indigenous round. I think you might be right in that this might be an Adam Goodes thing and dare I say it, a Carlton vs Adam Goodes thing. Can’t we just enjoy watching these entertainers playing their game very well and embrace some diversity without the hate? Maybe that’s the Social Worker values that I espouse, but it would be great not to have defend people’s right to have a unique culture and the right to celebrate it (in a non-violent or threatening way).

  7. Like the other commentors have suggested Matt, thanks for your eloquence. A stirring and heartening read.

  8. Muz from Queensland says

    here here thank you Matt.

  9. Brad Carr says

    Brilliantly said, Matt – I’m proud to say that you speak for me, and for the Australia that I wish we could have.

    Wrap, love your idea that the Swans should adopt Goodes’ dance and perform it at the banner run-through; that would be a fantastic show of solidarity for their champion, and would make a huge statement to the whole country.

  10. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Spot on Matt and beautifully articulated. The booing of Goodsey comes from a place of fear, ignorance, resentment = Hate.

    If the Swans make the GF, this could get very ugly. Then again maybe it has to so we can move forward ala Winmar and Long. All power to Goodsey, he is giving me the education I missed as you so aptly stated.

  11. Malby Dangles says

    Love it, Matty!

  12. jan courtin says

    Great article Matt. If interested, here is another spot-on article


  14. Matt, there’s also a mob self-righteousness on these matters…uncool (unABC) to try to make a point. I’ll shut up.

  15. Keiran Croker says

    Spot on Matt. There is a lot of hate in the defence some people put up. I am not saying don’t boo him, if you want to, you don’t even have to like him. However most refuse to actually listen to what he says. He is articulate, reasoned and respectful in everything he says. All power to him. Whether he retires this year or next he will continue to have a major impact both in footy and more generally in indigenous affairs.

  16. Well written Matt. Adam Goodes has a role similar to Muhamed Ali in America. You can be black, you can be a sporting champion, a top bloke, etc, etc, and you’ll receive endless kudos and praise. However once you have the temerity, nay audacity to speak up about issues affecting your people, all sorts of ghosts and monsters will appear to vilify you. That seems to be the case here.

    We must never forget , “White Australia, has a Black history !”


  17. Yvette wroby says

    Thanks Matt. I hate a mob mentality . I love our mob of almanac writers and thinkers. Yvette

  18. Hi Matt

    A variety of points you make. And at many levels race, mob mentality, personality, emotion, Australian and indigenous history ..oh and some football, have all come together and got people thinking, talking and yep booing.

    You make the point that your early Australian history at school taught you something about colonials coming along and trading blankets and beads in return for land. You learnt more than I did at school.

    It wasn’t until I left school and travelled to Northern parts of Australia that I had any concept at all of our indigenous people. Maybe I spent my schooling years staring out the window, but I think I’m fairly safe in saying that during the 70’s and 80’s Australian history (indigenous history) was paid very little attention in school classrooms across our bigger cities.

    Living in a city such as Melbourne, there was no intersection at all between those of us whose families had immigrated at some time in the last 150yrs, and the aboriginal people. None at all.

    I could probably ramble on a lot more here, but I won’t, except to wonder aloud somewhat….

    I wonder if perhaps, as a wider nation, as a population we are really only
    beginning the process of learning and understanding the history of our land, it’s stories, it’s people.

    I know as a 20yr old I was confronted by the Australia I saw and the views people held beyond the capital cities. I was shocked by the racism, I was shocked by the way our indigenous people lived. I was shocked too, that I had no idea and that I could have been so naive.

    I wonder if , as we learn, recognise and understand with greater depth, that perhaps we are all shocked to a certain degree, and that as we, as a nation, a community , as football fans, begin to understand better, a certain level of dialogue will inevitably have to take place.

    A dialogue that won’t all be good, that won’t all be right; some of it will (and has been) downright ugly, some of it will entail a mob mentality, but I wonder if it is a process that has to be gotten through to enable a better path forward, and a better harmony between all Australian people and for people to even better understand themselves and the beliefs they hold.

    I wonder if the AFL’s nominated indigenous round is just the starting point. It’s not an end point. Yes we recognise the indigenous people, but to what extent do we understand indigenous and even colonial, history and its relevance to contemporary society, its relevance to football.

    The Goodes, racism, and war dance stories will probably keep popping up, ignitingitng controversies and inflaming others. That may not be a bad thing if it’s something that helps us to learn more about ourselves.

    Interesting reading Matt….and I’ve now just spent the last half hour or so drinking coffee, thinking and filling up space on this thread, when I’ve got things to do. Good though.

  19. Kate,some of those people choose to live like that !!!!!!

  20. Matt

    Thoughtful as ever.

    With your first three points, I as most have agree completely with you. I don’t think any sane individual can argue that race has a lot to do with the way Goodes is booed, and anyone who thinks he was wrong for calling out the young girl’s actison has rocks in their head.

    I also think it is perfectly fine to not like him as a footballer. That’s Ok, you can dislike 100s of players. (But 100s of players don’t get booed every week)

    With the war dance however, I stand apart. I have said in these pages before, I wasn’t offended by it (I don’t know how I coudl be to be honest) , but I reserve the right to think it was a bad idea and shouldn’t have been done. Not that it put Goodes’s cause potentially backwards, but we can get carried away with the idea that everything Goodes does is correct and should be celebrated and any opposition to it is wrong.

    I know you are not calling me a racist, and I am not ‘offended’ by it. But I still think it was misplaced and should have attracted more reasonable criticism than it got.

    Goodes was brilliant over the ape comment, a stand that should have been taken and I celebrate and support everything he did there. I applaud him as my Australian of the year, standing up so brilliantly for his proud heritage and the shameful way we as a country have managed that situation. He is an educator to so many, well done there.

    Like Kate, I was shielded or ignorant of how we as a race had treated indigenous people and I took a long time, shamefully to realise what their plight was and what role racism played in this country.

    But I was surprised that I felt strongly that the war dance was a poor decision, would have been seen differently if a white player had done it and sadly divided the footy world into those that liked it and thsoe that didn’t (who got them branded as intolerant).

    Goodes is a brillant player and even better person. But I disagree with the dance


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