Friday night’s AFL match between Collingwood and Sydney marked the opening of the code’s Indigenous Round. Yet the chance for the contribution of Indigenous footballers to the game – both past and present – to be recognised and celebrated was marred by a racial taunt from a young supporter at Sydney’s Indigenous star Adam Goodes.
The round of games aimed to recognise the contribution of Indigenous people and culture to the broader Australian society. While showcasing the unique talent and pride in culture of the Indigenous community, it simultaneously noted the struggle against racism that has accompanied the achievements of many Indigenous people in this country.
While the AFL should be proud of the work it has done to stamp out racism in the sport, the incident where Goodes was called an “ape” by a crowd member has come to be the defining moment of the round. It serves as a reminder that there is still a long way to go to remove racism from Australian society.
This article first appeared in The Conversation (27/5/13). To read the full article click here: http://theconversation.com/the-afls-indigenous-round-and-the-innocent-face-of-racism-14659