Racist takes a bath

The recent spate of ugly racism from footy supporters  brings back a couple of memories from earlier days.    As a very young Essendon fan who regularly followed the Dons with his parents , I would hear racist remarks about one of our great footballers  Norm McDonald in the late forties and early fifties.  We would watch the Dons play most weeks on all the suburban grounds and I would hear people shouting abuse towards all the Essendon players but particularly a different abuse towards Norm. I didn’t understand it at the time but my parents would tell me to not take notice of these “very rude and stupid” people.  They objected to the racist remarks and would talk about it at home after the match.

Many years later while playing for Yallourn seconds in the Latrobe Valley Football League in the early sixties, the captain of our team was Alister Thorpe, a great footballer , a great person and an Indigenous leader in the local area. One Saturday we were playing one of the more remote football clubs in the League.  The ground was an absolute disgrace, the mud from goal to goal was about two or three inched deep and didn’t smell too good either.  I reckon today the game would be called off.   Anyway one of the opposition players was giving it to Alister non- stop from the first throw up, no bouncing possible,  not because he was giving him a bath, which he was, but because he was Aboriginal. One of our team mates asked Thorpie  did he want he want the bloke “shut up”  Thorpie just laughed and said,” let’s keep beating them”. But then this  idiot kept it up and  team mate, let’s call him “Nails” who had been a prelim. boxer of note at Festival Hall grabbed him and pushed his head deep into the mud ,face first. When he lifted his head up  he was a sight to be seen. Nails also had a few words to him about the colour of your skin.  It was impossible not to laugh when you saw him.

This particular individual seemed to seemed to lose interest in the game after half time and we didn’t see him again. I wonder if he still has the same racist thoughts.

Oh, by the way, The Sparks, Yallourn Footy Club, had a good win in the mud on this day.


  1. Martin Reeves says

    A good story, thanks Rod.

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