Persistent racist taunts might push Aussie Rules star to quit

Adam Goodes (left) of the Sydney Swans tackling Mark Hutchings of the West Coast Eagles in an AFL game at Domain Stadium, Perth, on July 26. Goodes, a leading Aboriginal star, has faced abuse by fans.
Adam Goodes (left) of the Sydney Swans tackling Mark Hutchings of the West Coast Eagles in an AFL game at Domain Stadium, Perth, on July 26. Goodes, a leading Aboriginal star, has faced abuse by fans.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SYDNEY • Racial abuse among a section of Australian fans could end the career of prominent Aboriginal footballer and anti-racism campaigner Adam Goodes, as the case catalyses a national debate.

The Australian Rules player is contemplating retirement because of the jeering he has been subjected to over the last few months, Australian media reported yesterday.

The booing of the 35-year-old at Australian Football League (AFL) matches - the elite level of Aussie Rules - has become a touchstone for a debate about racist abuse aimed at indigenous people in the country.

The former Australian of the Year was jeered relentlessly by rival supporters during a match in Perth last weekend, prompting indigenous Sydney Swans team-mate Lewis Jetta to perform a war dance in front of the fans as an act of solidarity with Goodes.


Adam Goodes (left) of the Sydney Swans tackling Mark Hutchings of the West Coast Eagles in an AFL game at Domain Stadium, Perth, on July 26. Goodes, a leading Aboriginal star, has faced abuse by fans. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

One spectator was ejected after being reported to security for shouting "Get back to the zoo!" at Goodes, an insult the fan later dismissed as "banter".

Goodes, who has twice won the game's highest honour, the Brownlow Medal, as the AFL's best and fairest player, had been given two days off training because of the incident. That break was extended yesterday to include this weekend's match at home to Adelaide.

"Adam is sick and tired of this behaviour. It has been happening for too long and it has taken its toll," Swans chief Andrew Ireland said. "We will give Adam all the time he needs."

The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday reported that Goodes was considering not playing on until the end of a season he had already said would be his last, which the Premier of the state of Victoria said would be a "tragedy".

"I want to be very clear... People who are booing Adam Goodes, many of them are nothing more than racists," Daniel Andrews told radio station 3AW.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2015, with the headline 'Persistent racist taunts might push Aussie Rules star to quit'. Print Edition | Subscribe