Jason Akermanis Of 2005 Racist ‘Monkey’ Fame Weighs In On Adam Goodes


Finally, AFL legend Jason Akermanis has weighed into the Adam Goodes racism controversy.

Australians were forced to wait almost an entire, torturous week for Akermanis to air his opinions about the incessant racist booing of the Sydney Swans legend.

And so, without further delay, here it is: “Any stupid journalists who said that they’re racist is kidding themselves,” the Brownlow medallist and triple premiership winner told Fox Sports earlier today, apparently unaware of the interview with at least one member of the crowd removed from the game, who heckled Goodes that he should “go back to the zoo”.

Akermanis continues: “Adam Goodes has got to stop looking like a sook and stop making it about him in this sense, and also he should stop trying to play the victim.”

“I got booed and no-one ever said it was racist.”

Well yes, Akermanis did get booed a lot. But unlike Adam Goodes, Akermanis is white. So, you know. Not racist booing.

And also unlike Adam Goodes, Akermanis actually is a wanker whose footy and public career has been plagued by controversy.

It’s hard to know where to actually begin… maybe with his 2010 comments that gay footy players should “stay in the closet”. Or his drunken on-stage handstand after a grand final win, which saw him try to walk on his hands, only to tip over too far and crash off the stage into the audience.

The irony of Akermanis trying unsuccessfully to walk on his hands wasn’t lost on those who recalled Akermanis sparking a racial controversy of his own in April 2005, when he used his radio program (the Aker and Macca Show) on Brisbane’s 98.9 FM to describe his employers as “monkeys”.

AFL player Jason Akermanis, in action for the Brisbane Lions.

In case you haven’t heard of them, 98.9FM is also known as ‘98.9FM Murri Country’ – it’s an Aboriginal community owned station run by the legendary Tiga Bayles.

Akermanis’ defence, as relayed to me in a phone interview at the time, was that using the term “monkeys” to describe Aboriginal people wasn’t racist. Why? Because Australians didn’t commonly use that term as a racial epithet.

Remarkably, that was pretty much the end of the national debate. There was no extended media outrage, no public shaming of Akermanis. Every one just moved on, and the matter was considered settled – you could, apparently, call blackfellas monkeys without being racist.

Of course, it was nonsense back then, and still is today – the whole Adam Goodes booing scandal is linked to Goodes calling out a 13-year-old girl at an AFL game for calling him an “ape”.

But, if you think about it, that actually represents progress.

The debate today is not about whether calling Goodes an ‘ape’ was racist. It’s about whether or not the 13-year-old who did it should have been held to account for her actions.

It’s taken us a decade, but at least now we don’t pretend we’re not being racist, when clearly we are…. Oh wait, scratch that.

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. Chris has won a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards for his reporting. He lives in Brisbane and splits his time between Stradbroke Island, where New Matilda is based, and the mainland.