Please fill me in on what has happened today in the Goodes booing issue?

I ask this in all seriousness: I have had my head down all day and have not kept up with media discussion of the Adam Goodes booing issue.

Can someone give me an account of the day’s proceedings? Who is saying what? Responses?

Where has this been played out?

Who is making the most sense? Who is making the least sense?

[By the way, what’s been the most prominent hashtag on Twitter?]





About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Rightly, today has been a resounding chorus from the AFL Commission, AFLPA, and various players, coaches, clubs all asking for the booing to stop regardless of what individuals think are their own reasons for doing so.

    Without undermining the specific theme of racism in the Goodes example, I think the person who’s made the most sense in recent days is Nathan Buckley, who has questioned the overall obsession with the need, or as many seem to declare, the right, for “supporters” to boo anyone at a footy match. He has spoken of the guidance he gives his own sons at the footy – to cheer loudly for their own team, but to resist the need to boo, or belittle, anyone else…be it umpires, opposition, etc. This resonated with me as it’s a behaviour I’ve tried to reinforce in my own two footy-mad sons.

  2. E.regnans says

    Happy to be told otherwise, JTH, but today I saw increasingly shrill proclamations from all sides.
    And we now have yer man A Goodes himself taking “leave” from training and possibly this weeks’ game.
    Some talk has him retiring from football.
    AFL Player’s association tweeted that the booing is received as racism, whatever its intent.
    That seems a key point in all this; often missed.

    “I’m not booing because of his race.”
    Regardless, these deliberate actions seem to have had a terrible impact on a man/son/friend/human being.

  3. Steve Hodder says

    Mainstream media e.g. sport 927 and SEN haven’t progressed any further than the last time this bobbed up e.g. after the Hawthorn Game, then after the Carlton Game etc. The debate is polarised between all booers are racist and he’s brought it upon himself e.g. Brereton and Bec Wilson on SEN. It bordering on the moronic.

    The most sensible comments, either way are here on the Almanac and I’m not just pissing in your pocket JTH.


  4. Dave Nadel says

    Several indigenous figures including the AFL indigenous officer Jason Mifsud suggest that all indigenous AFL players should do the war dance after scoring (presumably as an act of solidarity with Adam Goodes). I rather like this idea.

  5. Rick Kane says

    I don’t know what the fuck is going on but here are four random thoughts for what it’s worth.

    1. Adam Goodes is not in the wrong, in any way. He has nothing to answer for.
    2. Anyone who communicates through such a basic and primitive mode as booing surely cannot then mount a convincing argument that they understand their subconscious motives and drives in that action.
    3. Does the public discussion, with its focus on subtext and social/human rights indicates that we are witnessing the last gasp of vaudeville and music hall? (Which I think is a good thing; a sign of a maturing populace).
    4. Are people booing Goodes to express their displeasure because they consider he does not play fairly or within the spirit of the game? If so, then why isn’t Hird booed every time he appears on a footy ground? You can stack Goodes’ ‘sins’ (if that’s what you reckon he is being bood for) up as high as you like and they don’t even dent Hird’s ‘sins’ of omission and the things he has been part of.

  6. Thanks for these. Very helpful.

    I had a snoop around as well over the past hour.

    I found that

    I think Rebecca Wilson and Dermie spend a lot of time watching Federal Parliament.

    3AW and News have a quality nose for the class warrior.

    And Twitter is telling me I am all manner of things.

  7. Modern commercial news, media, talk is about entertainment and advertising (ratings/hits).
    If modern mainstream media were covering the Reichstag fire they would have one reporter out the back throwing petrol, with another out the front blaming the fire brigade for being late.
    Whatever gets audience and sales.
    Heat not light.
    West Coast Eagles FC lament the booing while employing boofhead Karl Langdon as ground announcer, while he talks up the “the punters can do what they like – I got booed when I played” line on 6PR.
    I rest my case.

  8. If life were a ‘Home and away’ episode, a “fundraiser” type would come up with a idea to cheer Goodes to drown out the booers (#cheergoodes) … it’s lame, but I’d love to see how it would pan out, especially coz I’m intrigued over which camp Alf ‘flamin mongrel’ Stewart would fall into.

  9. bob utber says

    I s poke with two indigenous friends at the airport this morning and both them agreed that the media should “give it a break”. They blame the media for starting the ripple effect.
    We are racist from my experiences and it is only with the good grace of my 2 bros and other native Terra Nullis people that things aren’t worse.
    Cannot believe some of the comments that I have heard – rephrase that – I can believe we are racist as a society.
    Like the suggestion of every player shaking hands before the games on the weekend. Should happen anyway.
    If Adam does retire from now – we must all feel guilty.

  10. I’m just completely confused. I see it this way:
    Goodes made some strong statements about things, which he is perfectly entitled to do (though calling Australia Day “Invasion Day” wasn’t smart). He wanted a reaction. He wanted to flush the issues out. And rightly so. He was looking for the community conversation. He is getting that conversation.

    But now he wants it to stop?? He is hurt by the reaction? He should be invigorated by the reaction. He should be attacking the reaction. Now is NOT the time to retreat, but rather to say (in response to the booing), “I present exhibit A”.

  11. Grant Fraser says

    Dave I saw the Mifsud idea…that all indigenous players SHOULD DO a war dance. There has been some reflection on the All Black’s Ode to the Hairy Man before the commencement of hostilities in rugby games – I have tried to determine whether it was a product of the players, or was foisted upon them from above. No luck, but one would hope it was something that the players wanted to do. If it is Mifsud’s idea to force/strongly influence indigenous players to perform a war dance I am anti it. I may be wrong, but I would have thought beloved Cyril and others who come across as shy of the spotlight would run a mile before doing this. Cultural Pride is an individual thing to be expressed in a way an individual sees fit.

  12. Keiran Croker says

    Indigenous people have called Australia Day as Invasion Day for years Dips. Nothing new. What we have now is way more than a conversion. It is a concerted attempt to belittle and silence a proud man.
    I agree that Goodesy needs to take the opportunity and stand up. And he most definitely will beyond his playing days. He is a strong man.
    For the moment he is rightly concerned about the impact on his family, friends and team mates. I think you can see it in the way the Swans are currently playing.

  13. DBalassone says

    Here’s my take – and a bit all over the place at that:

    I can’t remember any booing of Goodes prior to the 2013-14 incidents i.e. the girl in the crowd, subsequent Eddie gaffe, Australian of the year 2014 award, etc. The booing all seemed to start in 2014.

    I find it unlikely that the booing is to do with Goodes staging for free kicks – if this was the case, Joel Selwood would be the most booed player in the history of the game.

    I find it unlikely that it is to with Goodes being an unfair player. This is outrageous. Yes, he does throw his body into the contest, but once again there have been far more unsavory acts by players that have not incited boos week in week out e.g. Vickery on Cox last year or Barry Hall a few years prior. Was Barry Hall booed for the remainder of his career after KOing Staker? No, and this was probably the most sinister act on a footy field for the last 25 years.

    The booing has now taken on a different life because 1) people are sheep and 2) they now know Goodes is affected by it and 3) this bullshit larrikenism pose that many hide behind e.g. “get over it mate”, “you’re as weak as piss if you can’t cop it”, etc.

    Surely the booing stems from the 2013/14 incidents and Goodes being outspoken. A lot of people don’t want to hear it. Sad times for this country. And an utter embarrassment for Australian Rules Football.

  14. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    I’m with Damo and Rick,
    If the AFL REALLY wants this to stop it would instruct players and officials to walk off the ground. As for fans who are against this abhorrent, hate-filled booing, showing some solidarity for Goodsey by turning your back to the game may send a powerful message to the bigots. This is way bigger than footy now and I hope Goodes doesn’t retire because of it as it would be a victory for the mob.

  15. Keiran – I know its not new, but its not smart either. To change hearts and minds you first need to win the hearts and minds.

  16. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Can hardly bear to look at the media right now, although we really can’t afford to turn away either.
    I hesitate to add more fodder with my thoughts. But then don’t want to stay silent either.

    Every time I found an interesting piece yesterday, a piece written with a sense of the responsibility writers have to take care with language and its capacities or deficiencies to describe deeply complex things in increasingly small bytes …

    like this
    and this

    … I then unfortunately worked down through the comments and ended up sobbing at my desk. For so many reasons, the most stinging of which is the total lack of awareness and care for the individual expressed in the tirade of opinions. Indigenous people rarely have the luxury of being non political by the very nature of history and its collisions and the paths back to some kind of equilibrium. But at the centre of this is a human being.

    I tend to agree with Bob’s Indigenous mates, that the media needs to shut up and let the clubs and players make their statements and then allow the silence in which people may just be forced to reflect silently, rather than giving them this apparently ‘sociable’ pinball environment where they can shoot off anything they like. Although I guess that was Adam’s strategy last time around …

    I think I’ll save my words for Adam and Lewis and the club.

  17. Adam run out of town on a rail. Win to Bolt and his followers. Shame. And taking advice from Brereton ! Sheesh. He admitted that his role when playing West Coast was to continually racially abuse Chris Lewis to put him off his game. Ruined his career. Winmar got 8 weeks for belting him after intensive abuse. Say no more.

  18. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’m about as politically active as Homer Simpson, but its time to take a stand on match day.

    The current dialogue would have one think that this is a 50-50 divide – I hope that is isn’t. The silent majority from all teams needs to rise up and somehow drown out the vocal minority – any suggestions?

    As to the clown in Perth who felt “humiliated” when he was ejected for his “zoo” utterance, words fail me.

  19. Thanks for all these comments which are instructive.

    It would take a long time to unravel this.

    I ask: how many of us have formed our understandings of this via NIRS (National Indigenous Radio Service) or NITV. Or even The Marngrook Footy Show.

  20. I would encourage all of you who can to support this – (brought to my attention by The Peoples Elbow)

  21. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Keen on Marngrook this week JTH. They played it with conviction through humour last time, when Goodesy brought the war dance out. Be interesting to see if the tone changes this week.

    Nova Perris very impassioned this morning on Radio National. Especially on Indigenous people being asked to swallow the concrete pill and harden up. How hard do we have to be? she asked.

  22. Jen Costello says

    I have never before experienced the feeling I did whilst watching the Eagles v Swans game on Sunday..

    It went from being initially nonplussed ( “what the??, they’re doing it again!” ) to ,when the boos only became louder and louder and even more relentless with Goodsey clearly beginning to struggle in response, such a feeling of unease and dismay.

    I then realised the source of my agitation…I was in fact witnessing a form of extreme bullying.

    My enduring sense of despair only gave way to a modicum of relief when Lewis Jetta found within himself the profound courage to take action and stand up for his mate.

  23. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    NITV also ran a long interview with Goodesy straight after that post Indigenous Round Marngrook. It was on Stan Grant’s ‘Awaken’. Insightful.
    You can watch it on catch-up here.

  24. Dave Brown says

    I’m just about done. Last night I went to bed fuming having read the perspective of a former Adelaide football media personality on facebook. I did not go looking for it, it popped up in my timeline because one of my friends had liked it. As well as being angered by all of the factual errors that are well addressed In the “busting” piece here, it was just the lack of decency and humanity on display.

    He is a man, a proud man, a champion of our great game, who is visibly hurt by the throwaway actions of others. And the best many people can do is treat him like an abstract concept picking imagined holes in his perspective so they can tell him what is reasonable and what is not. Talk about the personification of dominant culture privilege!

    If it is physically upsetting me I can only imagine how it makes Goodes feel. The only thing we can do is let him know we recognise him as a human being in the face of the braying mob. A little empathy can go a long way. Ok, now I’m done with this.

  25. Keiran Croker says

    I too have been drawn in to the discussion at times encouraged by some insightful commentary from all perspectives, only to despair at the ignorance and bigotry also on display from others. It makes me feel physically and mentally ill.
    I’ll refrain from further comment and be prepared to walk beside our indigenous players and back the Clubs moves. I love the Bulldogs campaign “Be Loud, Be Fair”. Go to their website, check it out and sign on.

  26. Swish, I’m confident we have the booers well outnumbered. I will be cheering for Goodsy till I’m hoarse the next time my dogs play Sydney.

  27. Jen Costello says

    Thank you Mathilde for the link to Stan Grant’s interview– well worth the time taken to watch it

  28. Joe Moore says

    I would love to add something here, but this has me heartbroken and flattened. Can only imagine how the man himself is feeling.

  29. The Wrap says

    From darkest London in a time zone somewhere in the early Twentieth Century before the Fall of Empire I’m playing catchup. Thanks for initiating this blog Harmsie. I even found myself agreeing with Rick Kane – on all four points Rick. As I scrolled through the insightful and heartfelt comments I thought of things to add. Like the booing of the Mexican wave as it passes through the Members’ even though the people sitting there inanely fling their arms above their heads like the rest of the goats. Then thought to question why no other current indigenous player is booed. Even Robbie Muir had to actually KO someone on the day to draw the ire of opposition supporters. (A sign of changing times maybe, but we were a blatantly more racist society then. Maybe this in itself should be scaring us)

    But all that choked to nothing when I read Joe Moores’ poignant comment. Thank you Joe for finding the real issue.

  30. I’ve spent most of the last day and a half bogan-baiting on FB, where the ‘suck it up princess’, ‘you’re not the boss of me AFL I paid my $20 so I can do wot I like!’, fredumovspeach and PCGM!!!!! tropes are still fighting each other for bandwidth.

    But the bigger game I see going on here has not much to do with racism. Most idiots who boo do so because the idiot next to them is booing, it’s no more racist than the similarly- motivated (but less strenuous, and mostly harmless) Mexican Wave is Mexican When a barracker, sufficiently emboldened by beer, ‘presence’ or the right number of mates around him. calls out ‘You’re nothing but a faggot Smith!!!!’, even he is smart enough to realise Smith can’t actually hear him and most likely wouldn’t give a sod if he could. The message is to supporters of Smith’s team, and is along the lines of, ‘this is my territory. Accept that state of affairs or challenge it’. Mass booing of anybody, for any reason, is a demonstration of the same mentality. Remember the vuvuzelas at the 2010 World Cup, or the ‘Cooollllllinnnnggggwoooooddddddd!’ chant at the Grand Finals that year?,

    Times are tough for the terminally anti-social. There are not that many places left in the new millennial nanny-state where behaving like an obnoxious clot is still acceptable – the footy is one such, and the Obnoxious Clot Union is determined to hold onto it as long as it can. That is the dominant message that comes through all the Facebook sludge I’ve waded through since this issue blew up.

    Meanwhile, the role of the media, specially TV shouldn’t be ignored. The AFL is at the very least pretending to be addressing the decline in crowd numbers (the Spectator Experience they keep rabbitting on about lately). We hear about advertising, noise, amenities, prices, etc etc, but rarely about anti-social behavior in the crowd, as contributing factors. Ch 7 is never averse to zooming in on feral fans carrying on like pork chops, in a subtle reminder to their audience of another reason why they are better off staying at home or in the pub than venturing to the venue. (In my case, this ‘advertising’ has worked an absolute treat.) At the same time, the ‘ferals’ see another good result: the chance of getting their mugs on telly to brag to their mates about. The AFL has yet to convince me it gives a big enough toss at this trashing of its brand to dare tell 7 to back off the ‘clown shots’, and until it does the rest of its ‘win back the grass roots’ campaign will stay hollow and unconvincing..

    (Hyperbole alert: Eventually, the AFL will get seriously concerned if their product turns into the Jerry Springer Show. Channel 7 will not.)

  31. sean gorman says
  32. simon killen says

    “Times are tough for the terminally anti-social. There are not that many places left in the new millennial nanny-state where behaving like an obnoxious clot is still acceptable – the footy is one such, and the Obnoxious Clot Union is determined to hold onto it as long as it can.”

    That’s one of the smarter takes I’ve read. This thing has turned into a snowball of social issues careening down a hillside, and picked up all kinds of detritus along the way. Like others above, I have felt physically sick reading what some people are willing to say under guise of anonymity. A circuit-breaker is definitely required, but fast. A friend has proposed that much of the momentum here comes from having people with no knowledge or interest in footy per se getting on board in past few days.

    So where does a circuit breaker come from? I’m going to quote Leapin’ Larry L directly, cause I reckon this is a beaut. Nearly impossible to imagine, but radical enough to work. It’s like oil and water out there at present, and some separation needs to come from somewhere. See what you reckon:

    “Beyond that, I’ll just say again that this could be all but completely defused – if Goodes was interested in doing it this way, which would be entirely his call, of course – by Goodes shooting some video of him sitting down casually and laughing it off, basically saying, “I care a great deal about the struggle, history and culture of my people. But booing at the football is absolutely nothing compared to that. Such a piddling thing that it doesn’t even count. So people can boo, cheer, stand on their heads, for whatever reason – up to them. I’m going to go out there and play footy while I can. And I’ll be for and of my people forever.” Something to that effect, relaxed with a smile on the face. After that – bar the hardline baked-on racists who will never change, and the folks who did actually dislike Goodes for something about what he does or seems like on the football field (which I don’t get, but there are some of those apparently) – all the momentum of this mass-booing thing would be deflated, nobody much would care anymore and it would largely blow away.”

  33. Craig Tucker says

    There is certainly no doubt Goodesy has been a terrific footballer over the years and the fans in general have respected him greatly. Over the last year he has wanted to make statements about his roots that by in large (I feel) have been premeditated actions and have involved the punters, rather than the opposition players. Well he has got his reaction. Like many things in sport when the political element comes in – things go way out of proportion, it has become ridiculous. It would be interesting to hear what were the Almanacers thoughts when they first saw Goodesy point out that girl in the crowd, and did his war dance to the cheer squad.

  34. Dave Brown says

    To answer your question, Craig, my thoughts were 1: I am flabbergasted that someone racially abused Goodes in Indigenous Round in a game that has become his masterpiece. Oh it’s a girl, that’s really sad. Why does no adult appear to be going with her? 2: A man did a dance. If it is important to him, good on him.

  35. I have written an email of support to Adam Goodes which I sent via one of the Swans email sites (the Sydney and Melbourne fans sites – I am a Cat supporter) for them to send on.
    Can I suggest others who feel that the bad behaviour of crowds (certainly monstrous mass bullying, and in many ways racist as well as mindless ) should do the same.
    When we see such a wrong it is important that everyone who feels the same should stand up.
    Naturally, I don’t expect a reply, but when someone is under excessive pressure good people should support them.
    Footy needs more moral courage, not just physical courage.

  36. The People's Elbow says

    I know djlitsa has already referenced it on this site, but if you have the means, I suggest a donation to the Go Foundation or the Clontarf Foundation.

  37. The People's Elbow says

    …also, if someone could explain to me how using your platform to talk about Aboriginal disempowerment and that indigenous Australians ‘enjoy’ one of the lowest qualities of life in the world is ‘political’ I’d be much obliged.

    And before you point me towards his ‘Australian of the Year” speech, may I suggest you read the whole thing first.

    Besides, what did you want him to do?

    Thank the Academy and make a quiet exit before the band struck up?

  38. Good suggestion PE. I read Goodes’ Australia Day Speech. And his comments after viewing Utopia. I hope like mad that those words haven’t inflamed the bogan booing. It would elevate them to a literacy beyond their proud status. Besides, I honestly don’t think they could tell the difference between Australian of The Year and King of Moomba.

    No, I think it’s something more primal. Like booing the Mexican wave as it passes through the members. Something totally herd like. At the risk of repeating myself, I hope that’s all it is.

    From my recollection the booing of Adam Goodes started at the 2014 GF with a victorious Hawthorn dismembering a bewildered Sydney. Unravelled by the ease of their win, the Good Burghers of The Leafy East, exhausted by cheering, sought a less strenuous note for their intoxicated state of mind and inflamed tonsils . Hence the booing. Sadly, like most things that seem a good idea at the time, it’s had a consequence beyond the original outlet.

    But why choose Adam Goode as the target? From a Football perspective, and this is purely a personal conjecture, he hasn’t been the gentlest of players. In another era he would have been called a sniper. That this derogatory appellation is from another era is the key here. He appeared to get away with actions other players would have been pinged for. As admire as he was for his sublime Football skills, the knee slides and staging we’re there for all to see. It embarrassed the AFL that their dual indigenous Brownlow Medalist was drawing attention to himself at the MRP and even his coach publicly suggested he cut it out of his game. Now, with everyone expecting. Geodesy to hang up the Nikes at season’s end, especially after such a landmark belting, could the Family Club Faithful be expected to pass up a chance to farewell a player who had been their nemesis over the years, and was the iconic figurehead of the Sydney Swans side that had, in the born-to-win mindset of the Paid-up Proud & Passionate, robbed them of the previous seasons’ Flag? Not on your nelly.

    Understandably? Yes. Excusable? In the euphoria of the day, we put up with it, after all the opposition was from Sydney and they had used their special privileges to poach another iconic player from The Hawks. But why the booing in 2015? I can’t see beyond herd mentality. Really I can’t.

    So, how do you expell the demon? How about the AFL play wild cheering at extreme volumes over that grossly annoying PA system every time the booing of Adam Goodes starts. Surely that would stop it.

    Or stop us going to the Footy.

  39. Adam Goodes has singlehandedly destroyed my team over the years – in fact the joke was always “who’s going to get the 2 and 1 votes in the Brownlow ?” because we just assumed that he would get 3. He’s a big bodied players who dominates through athleticism. A sniper ? Not in my opinion. No Kevin Sheedy there. On the Hawks, I keep going back to round 8 and their unrestrained booing – like a “Lord Of The Flies’ private school playground scene. And I recalled their treatment of Chris Lewis in 91 GF. Oblivious to casual racism IMO.

  40. I’d say Kevin Sheedy’s was a good comparison Tim. Being bg bodied being doesn’t preclude a player from picking off an unsuspecting opponent. And I particularly like your Lord of The Flies reference. Wish. I’d thought of it myself.

    And please correct me if I’m wrong anyone; did the booing of Goodsey start during the 2014 GF?

  41. Michael Viljoen says

    It was clearly before that date.

    See this article, “Why are they booing Goodsey, Dad?” July 30, 2014 by Glen Potter 68 Comments

    “Why are they booing Goodsey, Dad?”

    I roll my eyes and head back in disbelief. “I don’t know, Son,” I reply astonishingly.

  42. Thanks MV. I wasn’t aware of that. It would appear we should be putting the question to the Family Club, eh?

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