Racism among some football fans: the booing of Adam Goodes


Adam Goodes plays football. Very well. Better than most have throughout the history of the sport. A few times each season, he plays on the Melbourne Cricket Ground. On most occasions these days, as soon as he gets a touch of the Sherrin, he is booed, heckled, taunted. Recent events have caused many people to ask the question, why?

This is not a one-off occurrence. This has been happening every time he plays football against certain Melbourne-based clubs, since 2013. The timing here is no coincidence. Yes, footballers divide opinion. They always have. But, in the case of Adam Goodes, this divide is sinister and is being highlighted by the actions of an outspoken minority who, sadly, appear to be growing in numbers and voice.

Much has been said and written on this issue over the past two years. Many excuses for the constant stream of booing have been thrown up. “He stages for free kicks”, “He slides into opposition players”, “He shouldn’t have been Australian of the Year” or “He whacked so and so ten years ago”. Many players stage for free kicks, whack opposition players etc., yet they are not subjected to the public defaming that Adam Goodes currently is. Tall poppy? Dirty player? This reasoning is improbable. This reasoning is driving a (poorly) hidden agenda.

Adam Goodes dares to voice his opinion on a matter that he is rightly passionate about. This issue makes many uncomfortable, and it should. A large portion of Australians feel challenged by his views, resulting in a refusal to face up to the issue at hand. This issue is racism and keeping heads in the sand only exacerbates the problem.

In the Indigenous Round of 2013, Adam Goodes made a stand against racism. A stance of incredible bravery. During the biggest match of an enormously significant round of football, Adam Goodes was racially vilified. A thirteen-year-old girl was evicted from the ground as a result. Her age and gender is quite simply in this case, irrelevant. Racism has no place in society. End of story. However, a grotesque mob mentality developed and decided Goodes was somehow in the wrong. Really?

Some of the game’s most experienced and respected journalists have weighed in on the debate. Patrick Smith is adamant that the booing of Goodes stems from the incident in 2013. “That’s the real reason behind the booing, not this excuse to hide their real intent, which is to boo him for making his stand on racism,” Smith said. Mark Robinson described the heckling as ‘the ugliest part of football today’, making him cringe every time the dual-Brownlow Medalist gets the footy. Caroline Wilson called for senior officials of the clubs involved to make some kind of statement to their fans. A ‘call to arms’ if you like, to stop. All agree that this is deplorable, disgusting and mindless.

Make no mistake, there is an element of our society hiding behind a questionable, but ultimately acceptable form of public heckling to disguise their racist beliefs. Disguised racism, casual racism and any other form of racism must be eradicated. Forever.

Huge gains have been made in the area on the field over the past twenty years. Off the field, progress has been stifled by incidents such as this.

Nicky Winmar, Michael Long, Adam Goodes. Courageous men who made a stand against an abhorrent societal attitude. Proud Indigenous men of undoubtable integrity, they displayed courage that very few would know. This weekend marks the staging of the Indigenous Round of 2015. The fact that the issue of racism still exists in the stands of our footy grounds, makes me believe that, in reality, we haven’t moved beyond 1985.

It saddens me, and others, that a man who shows exemplary respect and understanding of others, does not have those same qualities reciprocated. Beyond the footballer here, is a man who displays outstanding individual qualities on a daily basis. Does he not deserve the consideration of the community that he is simply trying to make a better place?

As a former Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes’ situation is unique. Never has a current footballer been awarded this prestigious honour. The very fact that Adam Goodes received the award, should have been the perfect opportunity for football to eradicate beliefs based on the colour of a person’s skin. Despite the efforts of Goodes, the Australian Government and the AFL, criticism intensified. Instead of celebrating, a minority saw this as an excuse for more disguised racism.

So, what’s the solution? Education. No person, of any age, of any gender has the right to discriminate. Racism has no place anywhere. Ever. As a sporting code, Australian Football must take a stance. One of our all-time greats, a rare dual Brownlow Medalist and an ornament to this country, is being subjected to treatment that can only be described as heinous.

I respect no footballer more than Adam Goodes. A man of obvious grace and dignity, his approach to such adversity is an inspiration to many. Myself included. Too often, this type of behaviour is allowed to let slide, with the offenders ‘let off the hook’. Stamp this rubbish out. We can all make a difference and the time to make a stand is now.






About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979


  1. Kevin Drum says

    Hi Joe!
    Thank you for your perceptive article, I feel your comments are most accurate.
    I too have pondered this issue at length of Adam Goodes being booed at the MCG.I was at the game and asked by a Swans supporter seated behind me “Why are they booing Adam Goodes?”
    When asked the question directly I felt I was in the position of having to reply with a credible answer. After a rambling attempt mentioning the staging for frees, double Brownlow award etc – surprisingly the answer popped out.
    This booing is nothing more than a disguised attempt by a gutless anonymous minority to racially demean Goodes’ Australian of the Year award and his positive stand on Indigenous issues.
    My suggestion is that supporters only can resolve this situation – if you are seated next to a booer (new word) simply ask them politely WHY? – then insist on an answer.
    This is not emphatically how a much decorated true champion of the game should be treated and this revolting boorish behaviour must cease before it goes any further – as true supporters of a unique and much loved Australian game – the answer is in our hands
    Kevin Drum

  2. Neither you, nor the great mind reader Patrick Smith can categorically say why Goodes is booed like he is. Calling fans of ‘certain Melbourne clubs’ racist without any evidence is poor form, and certainly a journalist if Patrick’s standing should know better.
    Fans boo players for all sorts of irrational reasons, some of the greats of the game have been booed, simply, it seems, for being too good.
    As a Swans supporter, perhaps ask yourself why Swan’s fans booed Buddy Franklin when he was wearing brown and gold. Are they racists, too?

  3. jan courtin says

    Absolutely spot-on, Joe. Sure, there have been changes over the years, on the footy field and in society generally – but nowhere near enough. You’ve only got to look at the disproportionate numbers of black people in prisons, particularly here at home and in the USA, to realise how deeply entrenched racism is. Indigenous peoples world-wide have been discriminated against for hundreds of years and unfortunately this continues to be the case.
    The booing of Adam has certainly been far more noticeable since the Collingwood fan issued those despicable remarks in 2013, and the many ignorant comments since then, triggered by that incident, make it clear that the booing is motivated by racism – conscious or otherwise. There is a helluva long way to go!
    If there were more people with Adam’s dignity, intelligence, integrity and compassion , the world would be a better place.
    Thanks for your great article
    Jan Courtin

  4. Dave Brown says

    Thanks Joe, a tricky issue. I like the idea that is doing the rounds at the Swans that Goodes be ‘cheered’ this weekend. I’m also glad the AFL ensured the Swans were playing at home in the Indigenous Round. I believe that there is undoubtedly an instinctual racism at work in the booing of Goodes. I also believe the claims of booers that they are not being consciously racist. I’m not sure slapping them with that tag helps.

    Undoubtedly it is boorish and I couldn’t help but feel those supporters got flattened by the karma bus on Saturday night as the Hawks’ two best shots on goal missed easy shots and their most skilful player dropped the ball running into goal.

    We are so fortunate to get to see these exquisitely skilled young men each week. The true champions, of which Goodes is undoubtedly one, should be cherished every time they take the ball. Time is fleeting and they’ll soon be gone. It would be nice if the booers took the price of admission and bought themselves some perspective.

  5. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Timely and prescient piece, Joe.
    At Victoria Park in the 1980s Pie fans would boo Maurice Rioli and Phil Krakouer. However, the more venomous boos were directed at Jim Krakouer and Robert Muir. Why ? Because Jim and Robert refused to take the abuse on the field and fought back, with no support from the clubs and the then VFL.
    Adam Goodes is the best thing that has happened to the AFL in the last 15 years. He is intelligent, outspoken and rightfully angry. He challenges white complacency and many don’ t like it.
    Author Toni Morrison once said: “Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”
    Goodes is challenging those deeply ingrained definitions. All power to him. Cheers.

  6. Scott Davern says

    Is Australia slipping back into its dark history, to the original people who have lost there home, culture, pride, and dignity . Why do we as people do this to a respected person ,athlete, and a shining light to all aboriginals . Adam Goodes will be in time revered in Australian history a leader and a person who will change the culture of some of the small minded individuals .

  7. Great piece Joe. Thinking the Friday night game may actually be worth watching – would love to see the crowd really get behind this great fella and champion footballer.

  8. E.regnans says

    Well played, Joe.
    As an aside, I note yesterday’s Age report of some research by Almanackers Dean Lusher and Sean Gorman into racism within the AFL itself (‘improvements but work still to be done’).
    I wonder what such results for the broader population would indicate.
    Probably a generations-long journey (but it need not be).

  9. Well said Joe.
    I dare anyone within 30 feet of me to boo Goodesy on Friday night.
    I will ensure they are removed from the stadium.

  10. Grant Fraser says

    I was there on Saturday, and last Saturday in September 2014, barracking for the Hawks. Then, and now, I have no idea as to why Goodes is booed…or should I say the issue that first started the booing (I am sure that it has developed a life of its own now and the cattle just follow suit for some cheap amusement). For me it is a distraction and completely stupid. But if we all do not know, I must echo the comments of Dan above…why is the race card played? Unless we KNOW why, or have information that makes it a logical conclusion, why go there? I am no fan of racism in any form, but I believe we ought not just jump on the vilification bandwagon where a non-white person is the subject of ridicule…effectively becoming cattle of a different herd. It MAY be the reason, and if so it warrants condemnation – perhaps next time you see or hear it happen, ask the person why?

  11. Dr Goatboat says

    Well written Joe….there are any number of divers, purveyors of the back-hander, whingers etc playing now who don’t get systematically booed…..Does Carey get booed as he arrives and moves around a ground in his reinstated role? I find it disappointing, to say the least, how Goodes is treated…

  12. I am amazed that some apparently reasonable people in the media, such as Andy Maher on SEN, are quite vehement in their belief that there is no element of racism in the continued booing of Adam Goodes. To say that “I have asked my friends” why they boo Goodes, and it is a result of “his staging for free-kicks”, “preferential treatment by the umps” and/or “because he slides into contests with his knees” is bizarre.
    In fact, there seems to be a slightly distasteful campaign by SEN, and others, to convince the public that racism plays no part in the booing of Goodes. The comparisons to Selwood etc being booed are laughable.
    Unfortunately, a good many Australians found his Australian of the Year award to be unpalatable, and the booing has grown louder since then.
    As Martin Flanagan said on AFL360 last night: racism, like drink-driving etc will unfortunately never be completely eradicated. But that does not mean we cannot keep trying.

  13. Joe Moore says

    Thank you all for adding to the conversation.

    Kevin – Interesting that you came to that conclusion when asked. Absolutely right, this is something that supporters can lead to create some positive change.

    Dave – Thanks, tricky one alright. Definitely not saying that everyone who decides to boo, is doing so for racial reasons, but it is providing a platform for those who do.

    Thanks Jan, Scott, Dr. and Smithy. Agree.

    Annie – Will be much cheering for our great man tomorrow night!

    Dan & Grant – most certainly appreciate your point of view. I am referring to a minority here, but that is still too many. My views are considered, using first-hand experience from sitting in the stands myself, similar reports from other supporters and the comments I hear in day-to-day life.

    ER – Thank you. That is a very interesting read. Change occurring, but with much work to do. A society-wide study may prove to be eye-opening in terms of it’s disappointing nature. What do you think?

    Smokie – I continue to be astounded by some media-types and their approach to issues that have much greater implications on society and communities, than just football or sport in general. That type of influence should not be abused.

    Phil – Could not agree more. Your response reflects my feelings on this issue completely. Cheers.

  14. jan courtin says

    Grant says “why is the race card played”, echoing Dan’s sentiments.

    Firstly, the things that Adam gets accused of, including staging for free kicks, being a diver and whacking opposition players, occur in most clubs by certain players, and they don’t get booed to anywhere near the same extent.

    Secondly, many people feel threatened when someone speaks out about injustice and stands up for what is morally right, specially when it comes to race and colour. Maybe too close to home? The ignorant amongst us and the one’s that start off with “I’m not racist BUT”, just don’t get it!
    Thirdly, based on the majority of comments on an article in a particular Melbourne newspaper this week, this ignorance and racism (conscious or otherwise) rears its ugly head. Comments like:
    “..it’s because you singled out a teenage girl for ridicule in front of 60,000 people and a nationwide TV audience. Yes she made a silly immature comment. But to single her out made you look weak an a little bit precious”. (He calls Being an Ape a silly comment!!) – my comment

    “The man took on a 13 year girl in the crowd, what a hero. No wonder why you get booed by the opposition. Grow up and stop being a sook. Are you a footballer or a cry baby?”

    “People have not forgotten his disgraceful “playing of the race card” with his bullying of a 13yo child. When you attacked the 13year old (a minor) it showed us you are a easy target.”

    “Maybe someone can tell us how we “un-invade” – is everyone except the first peoples expected to hop on a boat and sail away?” (referring to Invasion Day reference.)

    “He’s just another one pushing his own agenda while insulting the masses.
    He was given the enormous honour of Australian of the Year and used the whole year to tell us how racist we all were. He is by far the most divisive recipricant (sic) of that award and if you insult those that honour you then you get it back in spades”.

    “…he belittled a 13 year old girl who made a silly comment that she probably didn’t even understand the full implications of, in my opinion his public shaming of her was worse than anything she said about him” (he actually forgave her and din’t proceed further) – my comment

    “He is also the most undeserving recipient of Australian of the year in living memory, what did he actually do to win the honour other than publicly humiliating a naive 13 year old girl on national TV. Can’t recall many other recipients referring to as Australia Day as invasion day”.

    “So I think Adam Goodes needs to open his eyes a little wider and he might just see that the his white brothers are the once being discriminated against”.

    And finally, “Its about time he rode off into the dreamtime” !!!.

    Many of these angry comments refer to the Collingwood racist episode with the 13 years old girl. This is the point. Adam rightly spoke out about this ugly racist comment and was standing up for decency and for his people. The racists of the world didn’t like it – hence this whole episode of why people boo Goodsey.

    It started after that game and is sadly gaining momentum.

  15. Robert Ennis says

    The dumbest article I have read, are you trying to polarise people so people actually know who, you are… Adam Goodes is booed because he is a sook.

  16. Adam Goodes is booed not because he is an aboriignal, but because he is an aboriginal who wlil not take the role White Australians expect of him. Like the boxing world of the 1960’s where Afro-Americans had to go into certain categories; Floyd Paterson the good guy, because his stand against racism was moderate, compares to Muhamed Ali who was militant in his stance, thus was vilified by White America. Then there was Sonny Liston who fited into another easily categorised stereotype.

    White Australia has come a long way when dealing with the original owners of this land, but there is so much furher to go. I cringe at memories of the language i heard in the 1970’s to 1990’s, and thankfully that has been gradually changing, albeit slowly. We should alwys remember that “White Australia.has a Black history.’


  17. I repeat here comments I’ve made elsewhere.

    In the context of booing it could be called “The 13 Year Old Girl Excuse”. As we all know Adam didn’t know it was a 13 year old girl until well after he had made the call. When he did find out he handled it with exemplary grace, pointing out that it was a matter of educating and informing, and asking that people not blame the girl for making a comment whose racist nature she may not have known.

    In summary, he’d had it up to here with the racist cheap shots and drew the line. Good on him.

  18. Momentbymoment says

    No matter what the ‘reasons’ for booing Adam are, the emotional force behind them is racism. White Australia does not like being reminded of its past.

  19. Phil Hill says

    I would not call Goodes’ action ‘incredible bravery’ but I do agree with the description ‘he handled it with exemplary grace’, by Don. He is graceful,l on and off the field. I became a Goodes’ fan when he brought his Mum to the Brownlow one year.

    I am proud of the way the AFL has been at the forefront of combatting racism in sport but these things usually require someone to stand up for themselves. We footy lovers have been lucky that we have had Winmar, Long, Goodes etc

  20. Rod Oaten says

    Well done Joe., Australia needs more people like you. As far as I’m concerned racism still exists in a sizeable minority today. Give them any excuse to vent their poisonous spleen and they take it. Booing Adam Goodes gives them that opportunity and we should call it for what it is.

  21. Grant Fraser says

    Jan – your views reflect the prism through which you view life. It is your prism, and they are your views. I respect that in a Voltaire kinda way. It is an occupational hazard of mine to look behind bold statements and look for their nexus – hence my comments. I have not sat near anyone who has booed Goodes, so have not been able to seek their views why (and hope they tell the truth). I am happy you possess a boo-o-metre and can accurately gauge that Goodes cops it more than other “vigorous” players, leading to your conclusion that it must be because of his skin colour. I will similarly not conclude that by quoting me, and shortly thereafter making reference to “feeling threatened”, “ignorant” and “just not getting it” you were not necessarily ascribing those characteristics to me…until such time as you come out and say it directly. And @ Joe – if a person has told you that his/her booing was racially based….then the person booing is a dick and should be kicked out of the stadium.

  22. Joe Moore says

    Thanks Rod. Incredibly kind words, and I totally agree. It is a sizeable minority unfortunately.

    Well summed up, Don.

    Thank you, Glen. Exactly my point.

  23. Sam Courtin-Clark says

    Well said Joe!

  24. jan courtin says

    Hi Grant
    I can’t see how my comments could be interpreted as meaning they were applied to you. Of course they weren’t. I quoted you at the beginning so I could then give my view as to why I believe the race card is being played out.

  25. Grant Fraser says

    Jan – friends again!

  26. Michael Crawford says

    MCG May 9. Melb v Swans. No booing. Two weeks later. MCG May 23 Hawthorn v Swans Booing. Same ground. Same Swans. Same Adam Goodes. Different opposition. Just sayin. Go figure!

  27. Grant, I reckon the TV must “up” the mic for emphasis…I go to some Swannies games and haven’t noticed the booing. I (as Siegfried would have said) “don’t boo”. I’d not even boo Sheedy or Malthouse etc. (prime candidates!) But I’ve never been a Goodes fan. so it goes. Glad you could post as these sites can often lack alternative voices.

  28. Never heard Goodes booed in Perth. As MC says nor against Melbourne. Subliminal racism (envy, fear, insecurity) surfaces against serious rivals. Sydney stole the Hawks ‘rightful’ 2012 flag and their iconic (not best) player. That makes the subliminal visible (audible?) when the stakes are so high.
    We all grow up with stereotypes and pecking orders. I might be vulnerable but I’m better than …….(insert here – but colour and appearance is a ‘time honoured’ divide).
    Glen is on the money with his Paterson/Ali comparison.
    Goodes is the “uppity blackfella” who should be humble and grateful to have been invited to eat with us. Think “Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith”. And he dared say the soup was cold and the lamb overcooked when he was GG (national cheerleader and consoler not national conscience – pleeeease).
    Lucky Rioli had played so well on Saturday and has such a proven CV. If he’d only played 10 games he could have fulfilled the alternate stereotype – the “flakey blackfella – always gone walkabout under pressure just when you need him”.
    If you find these terms offensive then sorry but it was my real upbringing 50 years ago, and I suggest it only abates 10% a generation, and sits in the cultural reservoir of most front bars and barbies. Banquo’s unspoken but ever present ghost.
    Adam Goodes is my most admired footballer of the last decade +. Stemming from his central role in those long series of one goal games against the Eagles around 05/06 (not just the GF’s). I used to watch Goodes and how he paced himself and introduced himself in the most damaging way at the most damaging way. Often playing forward until the 3rd quarter when he’d move himself to the midfield and ‘turn on the afterburners’ against tiring opponents.
    Everyone could see how brilliant he was. I could see how smart he was.
    He was so smart it never occurred to me that he was a blackfella.
    Does that make me racist?
    (PS I have reserved all my boos for Hird – or (unfairly) his on-field surrogate Watson for several years. I plan to continue.)
    Thoughtful article Joe and thoughtful insights Knackers.

  29. Yvette wroby says

    Thanks all for this lively and thoughtful discussion. I wrote in my article this week about the “whiteness” of footy crowds at afl level. Someone posted that when they go to Melbourne storm games there’s a large population of islander populations so it leads me to wonder at whether the same reaction comes from the crowd when it’s more mixed. I like the thought of asking why someone is booing- a small moment where a person might become more conscious of their behavior . I will be more mindful of what I see and hear when the saints play the swans next. Thanks all

  30. matt watson says

    I’m going to ask my Hawthorn mate why his mob boos Goodes when they don’t boo Rioli.
    The booing has to stop. Hawthorn must address it.
    It is pathetic.

  31. Malcolm Ashwood says

    The booing of Goodes seems to be at its most extreme against the Hawks am I being to simplistic in that a large majority of the people who boo feel that Crawford should have been australian of the year and there for blame,Goodes in that he received the award definitely seems to have grown since then others thoughts ?

  32. Grant Fraser says

    An interesting side question is if the booing of Goodes by Hawthorn fans is racially motivated, and this is their sole cause of their booing, why do they not boo other indigenous players (we boo their Judas #23…for obvious reasons)? If there is a distinction because he is seen as “uppity”, might it not be this rather than skin colour that is the cause?

    Does it therefore flow that our own indigenous players are viewed by those same fans as Uncle Toms? I am well aware that the Hawks were one of the last clubs to welcome indigenous players onto our list (ask Changa) but that position seems to be well and truly a thing of the past.

    Enjoying these interactions as they are playing the ball and not the man. And yes Crio, long live the Almanac!

  33. Two responses:

    To Malcolm Ashwood – Malcolm, are they serious? Shane Crawford for Australian of the Year? Whatever for?

    To Grant Fraser – Grant, your question is a good one, and I think the best approach I have seen to an answer is in this article by The Age’s Jake Niall.
    I’d be interested to read what you think.

  34. Sean Goan says

    Nice job ????

  35. I recall sitting in the stands of Etihad last year at the Essendon v Swans game and there was significant booing of Goodes at that game. It was very noticeable. That said, they also booed significantly at the umpire that was injured and had to be stretchered off the ground.


    But the Hawks game last week was the worst I’ve ever experienced so far. I go to every Melbourne-based Swans game and it’s getting worse and worse.

  36. Football is like a pantomime. There’s the good guys (our team) and the bad guys (the opposition and umpires). I’m not a “boo-er” myself, I really can’t see the point, but I don’t think we need to overanalyse it. Players in all sports have been booed and heckled since games began for all sorts of reasons. Richard Hadlee anyone? Do we now need guidelines on who can be booed and why. If the booing of Goodes was purely racial we’d be hearing it at a lot more games than I have noticed. Personally I just think booing is disrespectful whatever the underlying reason but each to their own.

  37. Grant Fraser says

    @Don – interesting article. My take on it, and I am sure I will be corrected if I am wrong, if that the “I am white” group who were quoted seem to be objecting to Goodes as they felt HE was racist by putting all whites into the same basket. An intriguing twist, no?

    The discussion of challengers and bargainers is fascinating and can be applied across all of us. How we deal with and view them (these “types” generally, not isolated to one group) is highly personal and our views are unlikely to be shifted easily.

    Let me pause for a moment and reinforce a couple of things. My yin to the yang of others is prompted by a belief that only those who boo know why they boo, and we should hesitate before drawing conclusions as to their motivation. We may speculate, but it is best to be sure before we have a tantrum. As I have said earlier, I believe the practice is stupid regardless of what you think of Goodes as a FOOTBALLER (surely the only test).

    Secondly, I must admit to finding the Niall article deeply disturbing on a deeper level…I am mortified the we Hawkers agree with those Essendon types on ANYTHING!

  38. Paul Spinks says

    Adam Goodes is a great player, a champion, and I was glad he continued playing this year, was disappointed he had to don the red vest and be demoted to the twos, and happy he since found form etc, etc but he is not a saint (nor is any player for that matter). A problem with serious debate in Australia is that we tend to idealise and demonise. One is bad as the other in that they both polarise discussion and have us jumping at shadows when wiser truths could be found.
    I don’t entirely agree that age is irrelevant. We don’t, for example, send thirteen year olds to jail because of their supposed lack of maturity. There is a power imbalance between adults and juveniles, just as there is a power imbalance between blacks and whites.
    We can, and should, aim to achieve a perfect society, but perfection will never happen so forget any dreams of completely ridding Australia of racism forever – people will have always different ideas of what constitutes racism for a start. Perhaps while trying to rid the world of racism, sexism etc, we could also look at the extent we choose to be offended.
    While a slightly different and distant example, Neville Bruns was booed by Hawthorn supporters for the rest of his career after he had the temerity to be king hit by Leigh Mathews. Was he booed because he had red hair? Or because he was pint sized? Or did he just have a face people wanted to punch? He may have been a mouth on the field, but supporters were unlikely to know about that. Most probably they booed him because of the punishment meted out to Mathews.
    There is a common denominator here, though – Hawthorns fans. Perhaps many of them are just copying their team and being unsociable.
    I say that tongue-in-cheek, but who knows, there could be some truth in it.
    (there is also another factor in the Hawks/Goodes issue that no one has mentioned yet, and I’m not going to now because it will be part of a future piece I intend to post).

  39. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I emailed 10 Hawks supporters this morning and got back responses varying from plays for free kicks,show off but the majority was the 1 where they thought Crawf should have won australian of the year re his breast cancer work not 1 said it had to do with any perception of Goodes being dirty etc

  40. Grant, I agree with your take on the “I am white” brigade – a species of reverse racism, or “I’m the one being picked on.” Reminds me a bit of Pauline Hanson. And yes, I think Shelby Steele’s thesis is indeed fascinating and applicable in a range of situations.

    Malcolm, thanks for responding to my query. I wasn’t aware of Crawf’s input on breast cancer, and more power to his arm.

  41. Joe Moore says

    Fantastic, constructive conversation.

    As a society, discussing racism is exactly what we need to be doing.

    I just want to clarify a couple of my points:

    Saturday night was far from being a one-off. This behaviour has not only occurred against one club. It has been a reoccurring theme when the Swans play certain clubs in Melbourne. Saturday’s opponent is one. As I’ve stated, it has grown in it’s volume and mass since that incident in 2013.

    The scrambling to find valid reasons for this treatment, confirms in my own mind that the reasons I have outlined are correct. Reasons that site a technique issue, a masculinity issue or an issue which surrounds being given an award over somebody else simply don’t wash with me. This is my opinion.

    To highlight the specific timeframe of when this all commenced, I will use the 2012 season as an example. In that year, I attended two matches between the Swans and the Hawks. Neither of which were in Sydney. Interestingly, there was none of the treatment that Adam Goodes is now subjected to. In matches that have taken place post-may 2013, it’s an entirely different matter.

    Please remember that I am referring to a minority of football supporters here. However, if we don’t aim high in terms of eradicating racism from football, we are missing the point entirely.

  42. Simon Killen says

    Back when I followed VFL, it was North Melbourne whom I followed. Growing up in the heat of the rivalry of the 70s/80s, I got to hear racist slurs that made my toes curl directed at the Krakouer brothers by Hawthorn supporters. It became an article of faith that pretty well anywhere we sat, we’d hear it. It’s always struck me as quite a bizarre contradiction that indigenous players are so critical now to the Hawks. And yet my memories can’t be erased. It was all real. Often men with children I assume were their family. Unforgettable.
    That’s my 2 bob’s worth. That and that I agree with Jake Niall pretty well all the way. Lots of connecting issues involving masculine insecurity.
    Was at Lords last week, and entered as an English wicket fell. Bloke was on 98, and the booing seemed oddly good natured. My colleague had no answer, so I asked a half-cut pom what all the fuss was.
    Reply: It was Joe Rooooooooottttt…..

  43. Earl O'Neill says

    It’s great to read this debate being conducted with intelligence and grace – good onya, Footy Almanackers.

    There’s several factors at work here; Goodes’ ability to tear a game apart; his staging and ‘sniping’; the abuse at the Collingwood game; Australian of the year; his stance on racialism; the herd effect.

    I was sitting 20 yards away when Stafford’s knee buckled and Goodes ran in to contest the boundary throw-in, the moment that defined his career. I was watching the teev when I saw his cheap shot on a Melbourne player that led to a suspension, the only reason he didn’t better Stynes’ record of consecutive games.

    Goodes is the ninth indigene to win Australian Of The Year – full list here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_of_the_Year_Award_recipients. Several sportsfolks, plus Johnny Farnham and Lee Kernaghan, what the hell? The award is what you make of it and Adam took it and ran with it, more power to him.

    He and O’Loughlin would give their personal fone #s to relevant people around Redfern with instructions not to tell anyone about it, but use it if required. These are proud and successful men who want to help their brothers.

    In 2013, Goodes made a point of not blaming the 13 yr old girl for her comments. He handled it beautifully. Still, some saw him as ‘uppity’, especially after the AOY gong. Put it all together and, as another commentator wrote about his son booing, it acquires a life of its own and people boo because other people are.

    Bigotry is a part of human nature, we all want to prove that we’re smarter than the other monkeys. Whether that’s about music – “Bieber fans are idiots” – or teev shows – “How on earth could you watch Home Improvement?” – or sport, it’s a part of us and, I hate to put it in such terms, but those less educated and informed are more likely to feel out of the loop and may take some refuge in abusing those who have succeeded.

  44. People generally get booed for being a wanker. Based on tonight’s performance Goodes deserves all he gets.

  45. Earl O'Neill says

    Adam Goodes doing a bit of a Richard Sherman, great stuff!

  46. Budge, you may not have realised that the dance was taught to the team by a group of 16 y.o. indigenous footballers for the Indigenous Round and Goodes repeated it as a tribute to them. Nothing to do with any booing, the crowd loved it and the game moved on to the next centre bounce.

  47. Luke Reynolds says

    Well said Joe. I particularly agree with Phil Dimitriadis’ comment. Well thought out article. We still have a long way to go.

  48. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Sadly, this is still a very important conversation to be having. With reflection, patience and openness, all inclusively. Thanks Joe et al. Wouldn’t it be superb to have some genuine leadership not only on the ‘what’ of the discussion, but the ‘how?’ Adam Goodes does a pretty good job of this.

    The other thing that has not come into the discussion here, is the role the media plays. Tonight, an hour after the game, the AFL media is all over the Goodes celebration. ‘Controversy’ the word of choice. The police incident in the stand, the link of choice. Richo asks (or the producer asks Richo to ask) Goodes if there was anything sinister in the dance. And so they self-servingly crank the cycle all over again, promoting the kind of suspicion and divisiveness this thread is attempting to unpick.

    Present and live, the O’Reilly stand was awash with joy tonight. A not so chilly Friday night at the SCG. Fabulous didg prelude. Exchange of gifts on country. And then, a comfortable game and win. Our Indigenous champs doing the best of their work. Our non-Indigenous champs doing the best of their work. A young debutant kicking his first goal. Goodes’ personal celebration (it was a C E L E B R A T I O N, NOT a provocation!) was met with mighty smiles, cheers, wonder, some level of unknowing, yes, but why are we so confronted by or afraid of unknowing. Herein the root, methinks.

    It’s certainly not in the interests of a saturating, micro-attentive (and needy) media to promote the benefits of unknowingess and the opportunities it may present.

  49. jan courtin says

    I’d like to say more here but have had my say in my recent article on the Swans Carlton game under Round 9 entitled HAIL ADAM GOODES IN THIS INDIGENOUS ROUND

  50. Joe Moore says

    Exactly right, Mathilde. The reaction to an Indigenous man performing an Indigenous celebration in the Indigenous Round has been astounding. We clearly have a long way to go.

  51. I agree with PB. If you have to boo someone boo someone who deserves it. Like the Essendon hierarchy who have obviously influenced Sepp Blatter who couldn’t monitor everybody all the time, not a man who has far more credits than debits on his balance sheet. By the way did I imagine Richo was horribly embarrassed having to ask that question?

  52. Matt Zurbo says

    Good one, Joe. A corker! Spot on.

  53. I’d be worried if those doing the hawthorn fan survey of their reasons for booing came back with ” A bit of this, a bit of that, but mostly that I have a subliminal/unconscious undercurrent racism that runs through my veins”.

    People will use the excuse that it is the staging, the 13 yr old girl ( who knew she was 13?), the knees first slides (like I was taught…), etc. All weak excuses in an attempt to hide their real motivation.

    Where is the same level of abuse for the Nat Fyfe who has been suspended, attempts trips, and the like?

  54. One gets the sad feeling Adam Goodes is going to continue to encounter this ongoing targeting for the reminder of is illustrious career. The carry on re his dance on Friday is almost deafening it. Let’s recognise and praise it for what it is; an indigenous footballer, playing in the indigenous round proudly performing a dance representing his culture. It should be praised !

    However it allows a pretext for all sorts of ghost and monsters to come out of the cupboard, yep all the Goodes critics again find a reason for targetting him, a proud indigenous man. I just popped down the newsagents, noticed the Murdoch rag, with a picture of Bolt on the cover, with a story by him inside bagging the Friday night dance.
    Yep we’ve come a fair way tackling racism, but still so far to go. Never forget, “White Australia has a Black history.”


  55. Barb Jamieson says

    Racism is alive, and sadly, very well .
    If I had a dollar for every time I hear ” I’m not racist,….but , and nine times out of ten , it’s followed by a racist comment .
    Adam Goodes is not my favourite footballer , but then , why would he be, he’s not on the team I follow, but he’s a decent man , who speaks up for what he believes in , and that’s what people don’t like . He confronts their racism , the very people who deny they are racist.m
    I admit to being guilty of booing, my booing is at an incident in a particular game , And I will own up to booing Bernie Vince when he tagged Dangerfield, but am I going to boo him the next time we play Melbourne ? Well not unless he does something dirty, actually, I love Bernie, he’s still one of ours in a way .
    I don’t know what more the AFL can do to end this behaviour, maybe not a lot , because in the end , racism is hereditary, you’re not born with it , it’s something you learn , I don’t know how you un-teach it , I just know that is sickening , and like a disease , it’s spreading.
    Follow almost any post on social media to understand that the world and the people are becoming less tolerant , more self absorbed and more prejudiced than ever before , and personally .
    Adam Goodes is indigenous, proud, and fearless, and I take my hat off to him , because he’s the kind of man who is never going to back down , here is what he is and is proud of it .
    I just wonder , when did Australians begin becoming so very an-Australian .

  56. Paul Young says

    I’m a North Melbourne supporter. But if North folded tomorrow and I had to choose another team , there’s three reasons why I would select a particular team.

    Bobby Skilton
    Paul Kelly
    Adam Goodes

    In my lifetime Goodesy is probably the Australian of the Year I have more respect above all others.

    Great article Joe. And thanks for the follow on twitter.

  57. Tony Robb says

    “I just wonder , when did Australians begin becoming so very an-Australian”

    1770 probably covers it Barb

  58. I don’t think the racism accusation is sophisticated enough. The same supporters who boo Goodes have Rioli’s number on their backs; or Burgoyne, Hill, Anderson or Gibson (who isn’t indigenous – but would be targeted by racists).

    The same supporters booing Goodes don’t boo his teammates Franklin or Jetta.

    At least part of the reason he is booed because of the pantomime of having a villain, and because he has made it clear he doesn’t like it. The more he says he doesn’t like it, the more opposition supporters will do it BECAUSE he doesn’t want them too.

  59. Adam Goodes should be cheered each time he touches the ball not Booed. What an absolute disgrace! Racism at its ugly worst no matter how they try and justify it and justify it they are! Grow up AFL fans and show Adam the respect he deserves due to his standing in the game and leadership of aboriginal people everywhere! I have been lucky enough to visit and work with many aboriginal communities across Australia throughout my life in a sporting capacity. The leadership and standing all aboriginal sporting elite athletes have with all members of the communities is simply staggering. They provide hope at the highest level and a dream to strive for simply by being an athlete at AFL, NFL, NBA, NBL, Olympics and commonwealth games levels. No matter how they try to wrap it up Racism is Racism is Racism and don’t they love to tell all those who speak up for Adam Goodes how wrong we are! Racists have been proven good at that throughout history just ask Abraham Lincoln!

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