Anyone who lives in Australia can’t help but be aware of the commentary this week surrounding AFL player Adam Goodes and racism. It’s been an issue brewing for some time, and it boiled over this week into a seemingly unstoppable flood of outrage, denial, anger and hurt. For most of the week I’ve listened to and read a lot of people’s opinions. I’ve felt a rising sense of frustration and disbelief. I’ve nearly called ABC 774 several times! I’ve never called radio talk back! Frankly, the only thing stopping me calling in has been the two small children yelling for my attention every 2.3 seconds!
I’ve had a page of notes on my phone and my computer, waiting for me to form into a coherent post. And then yesterday, I decided to email my club, the North Melbourne Kangaroos. I wanted to know what they were going to do to support Adam Goodes. I’m a paid member, so I wanted to know. I intended to write a quick email, just to find out if anything was planned. But it became longer, as I explained why I was so concerned. And it clarified to me just why I have been so upset by the lack of respect shown to Adam Goodes. By the apparent intelligent people I know who have so easily dismissed him as a ‘sook’, as ‘thin skinned’. As someone who needs to ‘man up’. It’s for my children. It frightens me, that in this day and age, our country still struggles to address this issue, to discuss the matter in a mature fashion. So this is what I wrote to the club:
I wanted to contact the club today regarding Adam Goodes. I have become increasingly upset and I have to say angry at the way he has been treated. As a paying member of NMFC I was wondering if the club was planning or talking about ways to show support for Adam Goodes?
The current commentary and fan reaction to Adam has made me feel angry and upset, because it makes me question – can I take my small kids to live matches, when this behaviour is accepted and apparently encouraged (by ex-players saying he is a ‘sook’ etc). I want my kids to feel that AFL is a community that they will feel safe in, that they will feel AFL will give them opportunities, joy and a sense of team. I do not want them to learn that bullying is ‘normal’, that racism is normal or that men cannot express feelings or discuss matters that are emotionally important to them.
I really did not know where else to express this opinion at this point, but I figured as a member of NMFC I could start here.
I love this game, I love this club. I do not love this concerted campaign against one of the greatest players we have.
I’m pleased to say they got back to me really quickly, explaining that they were finalising plans and would be updating fans soon.
Today, I have felt slightly less upset by this, and a little more hopeful. Of course, some actual leadership by our politicians would be nice, but let’s not hold our breath for miracles. But perhaps now, this is a tipping point into a discussion that we need to have. Perhaps this will be a catalyst for broader understanding and acceptance. Let’s just hope we haven’t let an outstanding leader, advocate and person be broken in the process.