Okay, so I know this blog will start up a few of the usual suspects, but, I watched the doco last night and it hasn't changed my opinion one bit!
To begin with, I watch a lot of AFL footy and follow the game with the same fervour as I do Rugby League so my observations on the game should be given at the least the same weight that you blokes would give yourselves on your observations of Rugby League.
Adam Goodes got booed mercilessly, all over the country, for three years, every round - from 2013 to 2015 up until his retirement.
It began in 2013 when he called out a 13 year old girl for calling him an 'ape' and her subsequent ejection from the ground. It continued with his awarding of the Australian of the Year gong in 2014 and solidified in 2015 when he performed a 'war dance' during the Indigenous Round.
Now, a documentary was shown last night on Channel 10 which, on its face, described Goodes' situation from the commencement of the booing in 2013 until his retirement in 2015 - and it included footage of the commentary, from both sides, at the time and subsequently.
Ultimately, two of the principal purposes of the documentary was to pose the questions, "Was the booing of Adam Goodes racially motivated?", and, "Is Australia a racist country?". The airing of the documentary has, as expected, re-energised the debate, on both sides - and most pertinently on talk back radio today.
Rather than summarising the 'arguments', I'm going to point out a few facts!
Fact 1: Lindsay Thomas of the North Melbourne Kangaroos was routinely criticised for 'taking dives' or 'staging'. He would often get hit off the ball but, because he used to hurl himself on the ground like a South American soccer player, never got free kicks awarded to him.
He was an Aboriginal footy player and never got booed for his antics.
Fact 2: Players get booed all the time for 'dog acts' during a game of footy! Jeremy Cameron on the Giants got booed when he took out Harris Andrews of the Brisbane Lions (and was subsequently hit with a 5 week suspension) at the Gabba.
When Cameron returned from suspension, he did not get booed at any ground.
Fact 3: Gary Abblett Jnr - a practical god of the game - spent the first few rounds hitting blokes in the head and out of play. He also agreed with Dickhead Folau that gays should go to hell because he's a God botherer too!
After getting off blatant "Josh Maguire grub acts" for two weeks in a row, he got done the third time. Before he copped a one week suspension, and after agreeing with Folau, he got booed for about 5 minutes during a game on Easter Monday whilst playing against the Hawks - an opponent that his serious history with his Cats. He has subsequently not been booed.
Fact 4: Players get booed when they play against their old teams. This has gone on since the beginning of team sport in this country! Happens all the time. But tends to be limited to the first few games that the departed player plays against his old team and never happens at other times.
Fact 5: Indigenous and non Indigenous players are booed at the same level. True! Des Headland of the Dockers got booed for beating the crap out of Adam Selwood of the Eagles after Selwood made a racial and family slur against Headland duing a game at Subiaco in 2007. Seriously ugly incident - and Headland (the Aboriginal player) was not foreign to controversy whereas Selwood was a cleanskin.
Nobody booed either player after that particular game through the rest of the career.
Fact 6: Adam Goodes got booed every SINGLE week for 3 years! After calling out a white girl for calling him an Ape, for being awarded Australian of the Year, for being outspoken about racisim and for doing a war dance no different to the insufferable Haka that we, apparently, all love!
Fact 7: There were 71 Aboriginal players at that time and only Adam Goodes got booed!
True. Most Indigenous players are lauded for their speed, skills and application to the game - like Cyril Rioli. But Indigenous players hardly every 'take a stand'. When they do, like Nicky Winmar, Michael Long and Adam Goodes, they cop it mercilessly and only history grants them so much as a hall pass for their courage.
Now, if you think that Goodes got booed because he:
1. Staged for free kicks; or
2. Played dirty; or
3. Lived a charmed life with the judiciary,
I've blown your arguments out of the water with the provable and verifiable facts listed above.
The difference between Goodes and all the other 'villains' is that Adam Goodes had the audacity to call out casual and blatent racism and used his, albeit politically awarded platform of Australian of the Year, to try to start a productive conversation.
Not everyone that booed Goodes is a 'racist'. Not everyone that dislikes Goodes is a 'racist'. Because, in the eyes of so many in the country - and propogated by true bigots like Sam Newman, Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine and the usual 'conservative' suspects, 'racisim' is a concept limited to the thoughtless and thuggish hurling of offensive ad-hominems towards folks of a different culture.
Racisim is also when one is not prepared to accept that someone, of a different culture, wants to have a reasonable, meaningful and fruitful conversation, and is completely shut down; when one is not prepared to listen to an Indigenous man speak of his struggle and its lack of parity with Sam Newman's struggle with being a "Protestant, heterosexual white man" in modern day Australia; when one takes offence to the concept that 'white priviledge' truly exists, yet it's not the fault of the silent white 'man in the street'!
This whole situation saddens me.
I'm a halfie and my wife is black - but I've never felt even the slightest tinge of bigotry towards me - and so lucky me! My wife hasn't been so lucky in her country of origin, the USA, and apparently, Adam Goodes hasn't in his country of origin, Australia.
That, in and of itself, should give us all reason to take pause.