CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
The AFL is this week rushing to defend the type of behaviour that only seems to keep happening in the AFL.
In the same week that the NRL, Tennis Australia and the Australian Olympics Committee have all announced the wholehearted support for the constitutional recognition and constitutionally enshrined advisory body for Indigenous Australians, it seems that Aussie Rules is still back at the ugly square one they found themselves during the shameful 2015 season.
After a shocker season that has seen countless examples of racism both online and in the stands, high-ranking AFL executives and ex-players have rushed to defend fans getting into the tribal spirit – with many arguing that racism comes hand-in-hand with competition.
This follows the explosive ‘Hawthorn Culture Review’ of 2022, which found unbridled discrimination towards Aboriginal youths, who had been reluctantly recruited into the Hawks’ system because they were undeniably better than the elite private school boys that had graduated alongside the sons of coaching staff.
Once again, this week Port Adelaide star Junior Rioili and Sydney Swans immortal Buddy Franklin have been left at the centre of a media circus, after copping dehumanising vitriol from the same fans that haven’t been dealt with since Adam Goodes was forced into early retirement.
With restructures in the game’s corporate leadership, and countless symbolic Welcome To Country ceremonies and Indigenous-themed jerseys – there was optimism that these days were behind the game. Despite the fact that the average football team is about as culturally diverse as a 1950s soap commercial.
However, any ray of hope has been crushed today, as AFL executive Xavier Portsea-Thredbo (68) refuted any accusations that the game was racist.
“Please” he said.
“There is no larger problem. These examples of minor racism just come down to a couple of toothless blue collar fans who never finished school”
“But I’ll tell you who did finish school. All of those blacks we put through Caulfield and Geelong grammar”
“It pains me that some of them are so ungrateful. We gave them the opportunity to be somebody, and now they have the hide to accuse our game of not doing enough to protect them”
“Do you know how hard we worked to make sure none of them ‘went walkabout’ and actually played for First XVIII”