We can debate the booing of Adam Goodes till the cows come home, but it doesn’t really get us anywhere.
So in the interests of moving forward, how about we negotiate a deal.
Racists, you can boo Adam Goodes all you want, and pretend it’s not racist.
The rest of the nation: We'll continue to call it what it is. Racist.
And in the meantime, maybe the AFL can pull its finger out and actually do something practical to address the problem.
At least West Coast Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett was out trying today, although while to his credit, he was unambiguous about the racist nature of the booing, he also got his facts wrong.
"We want our fans to support our team, but there are some boundaries that need to be observed. We cannot and will not condone racist behaviour,” Nisbett said in a written statement.
"It is completely inappropriate and it has to stop.
"It was a minority of our fans booing yesterday, but it has happened across the competition for a number of weeks and as an AFL community we have to address this matter. I implore all clubs to stop this nonsense.”
If by “a number of weeks” Nisbett means “a full year” then he’s spot on. Because that’s how long it’s been going on.
It also happens to be the most extraordinary thing about this story – that it’s been allowed to go on for so long without some sort of intervention by the AFL and other players. It’s only now an issue because another Aboriginal player – Lewis Jetta – finally got jack of it and found the courage to stand up.
In case there’s any doubt, here’s an article from August 2014 which asks why Goodes is being booed.
And here’s one from May this year.
So it’s not a new thing. It’s an old thing, albeit not as old as Australian racism, which goes back a few hundred years.
But unlike Australian racism – which is entrenched, and unlikely to go away any time soon – the racism directed at Goodes can be stamped out pretty quickly, and surprisingly simply.
You might not be able to stop a crowd from booing a player for purely racist reasons, but you can stop a game. And that’s exactly what should occur.
It’s the very least the AFL can do, having sat and done nothing for a year. And if it doesn’t take action, then the players should.
Both teams should simply walk off the field until it stops.
The racists are there to watch footy. They’ll get the message pretty quickly.
Now that the booing is being widely called out for what it is – racism – then if the AFL and its players allow this to continue, they are implicitly endorsing it.
The longer they fail to act, the more damage they do to their brand.
If you want the AFL and players to take action, do the following:
1. Tell your family, tell your friends (ie. share this story on social media).
2. Send a message of support to Adam Goodes here (via Twitter)
3. Send another message of support to Adam on Facebook (here)
4. Include the hashtag #walkoff4goodes in everything you post (on both Facebook and Twitter).
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