OPINION

We all need to wake up to this illness

Adam Goodes. Picture: STEVE CHRISTO, SMH SPORT/NEWS.

Adam Goodes. Picture: STEVE CHRISTO, SMH SPORT/NEWS.

The Final Quarter exposed a dark underside of sports culture - it's all well and good until a minority challenges the casual racism of White Australia.

Director Ian Darling's documentary of the final stages of Sydney Swans' champion Adam Goodes' career was must-watch television.

Friends had seen the documentary at the Sydney Film Festival. I was jealous. So, we must congratulate Channel 10 and WIN for broadcasting the abhorrent treatment Goodes copped from AFL fans and mainstream, conservative media identities and the lack of action taken by the Australian Football industry.

Being a life-long Swans fan, I can't say the clips of the vilification Goodes received and lack of action taken by the AFL surprised me. I watched the game where Goodes called out the then 13-year-old girl in the stands. I remember Sam Newman's extremely divisive hot-takes on the AFL's Footy Show.

I remember the booing and the fans on social media and football forums saying it's because he dives, he's a sook - what rubbish. So many players stage for free kicks, yet they're not booed for years on end and hounded out of the game.

I went to the game at the SCG where Goodes performed the war-cry, inspired by the junior Indigenous AFL squad the Flying Boomerangs. My mates and I sat in the stands and laughed, thinking what will the conservatives make of this. Our fears were confirmed. I sat on the train home reading the hot-takes and watching what the Fox Footy panelists had to say.

But, our laughter and disdain for their comments was not good enough. We distanced ourselves by our actions. Hindsight is an amazing tool, but Goodes, like many other people of minorities in Australia needed us to take a stand.

Goodes spoke of how he didn't stand up to racism as a teenager in high school. We as a country need to get out of the high school mentality. The first step would be Aboriginal recognition in our constitution.

We need a variety of men and women in broadcasting: news, entertainment, sports, weather. We need voices from people who have experienced trauma and pain from racial, sexual and gender vilification. We can always be more inclusive - we might learn a thing or two.

Sam Strong

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