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Congratulations Essendon for using the power of sport to change things for the better

Fitz on Thursday

Broadcaster Alan Jones.

Broadcaster Alan Jones.

See, what happened is this. Late in the first quarter of Friday’s Swans v Essendon match in Melbourne, Sydney’s own Adam Goodes – no less than the Australian of the Year and the most widely and deeply admired figure in Australian sport – goes up to take a mark, just inside kicking distance.

Bugger. Essendon is six goals down and at this point getting an absolute trousering, and they are clearly about to be seven goals down. The home crowd groans and engages in a little good-natured bantering – at least most of them do. But one Essendon supporter goes way too far and calls out, “F--- off, Magilla the gorilla!”

In response, another Essendon supporter turns around and says, “Who said that?”

Goodes, the bad and the ugly: Adam Goodes during his side's win over Essendon on Friday night.

Goodes, the bad and the ugly: Adam Goodes during his side's win over Essendon on Friday night. Photo: Getty Images

The offender replies cockily, “I did.”

And so, what now? Accept that you have someone in your supporter base who disgraces the colours in this manner? Or do something?

The Essendon supporter did something, and made a complaint to security.

Force for change: Adam Goodes at an indigenous event.

Force for change: Adam Goodes at an indigenous event. Photo: Getty Images

The comments were reported to the club administration.

And so, what now for the club? Accept that you have someone in your supporter base who disgraces the colours in this manner? Or do something?

They did something. They apologised to Goodes on the club’s behalf, and suspended the offender’s membership.

Bravo. Bravo, bravo. Victor, roger bravo and over and out.

But wait!

The line is still crackling! It is not over and out at all. For, despite the fact that most people have applauded the strong action by the Essendon club to actually take a stand, to say that in the 21st century we simply are not going to have people like that in our ranks, or epithets like that said by people who wear our club colours, it is simply astounding the number of people who still don’t get it.

I cite, particularly, a great column carried in The Age yesterday by sports writer Jesse Hogan, noting how Melbourne-based Swans supporter Joanne McFadyen had complained of similar racism by Essendon supporters, against Goodes, at last weekend’s match. She cited an older male sitting in the row directly behind her.

“He was calling Adam Goodes a pussy, a pig, [saying] to ‘go back to where you come from’. He was just horrid. He said things like ‘go back to where you come from’, ‘who do you think you are?’, ‘this sport is not what it used to be, it’s not our game any more’.”

Exactly. You and I are appalled. And a lot of the people who made comments beneath the article were too – but they were appalled at McFadyen and Goodes, not the ugly racism!

“Since when,” ‘’Bomber’’ wanted to know, “are venomous attacks not allowed? What’s next we sit in silence and clap good play only? Suggest Joanne goes home to watch it on the sofa with a blanket!”

Thanks, Bomber. Dunno about membership at Essendon, but there’s no doubt you’ll always be a card-carrying dickhead.

Gordie? Your thoughts, in the comments section? “You have to understand people get fed up with being called racist because of what they believe.”

Exactly! If they believe their racist epithets, it MUST be OK!

There was more, much more:

Duane said: “Wow, all I see is someone who couldn’t handle a bit of banter towards her club and wants her 15 minutes of fame. I don’t see any racist remarks there and it’s brushed over that he was saying similar to other players as well. Utter rubbish.”

Tommy: “Adam Goodes over a number of years has got supporters offside by his disgraceful behaviour, and If i wish to, I will yell abuse at Goodes, which he fully deserves.”

Really Tommy? Adam Goodes? Disgraceful behaviour? What, running your club ragged and booting lots of goals, you mean? I can’t recall anything else?

This ingrained variety of notably virulent and staggeringly stupid racism, is not, however, just confined to punters.

Yesterday 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones was on Sunrise – settle Petal, my hotel in the Northern Territory wasn’t picking up Today – attacking the whole idea promoted by former AFL great Andrew McLeod that the AFL should have a No Racism round.

“Certainly not. It is almost reverse apartheid.” Jones said. “It is the new game in town. If you think you’ve been racially abused, apparently you have been.”

A pause. I know what you’re thinking. Jones couldn’t possibly think that calling a black man a “gorilla” is not racist could he? COULD he?

But no, Jones went on to vociferously defend the 13-year-old Collingwood supporter who last year called Goodes an “ape.”

“She had no idea,” he said, “and I had no idea, that it was a form of [racial] abuse.”

Alan, bring it in tight. If calling a black man a “gorilla” and an “ape” is not racial abuse, what the hell does it take? On previous occasions when black men have been called “black c---ts” by opponents, you’ve also defended that. I repeat, Alan, if that is not racism, what DOES it take?

You yourself, infamously, called a very tall Chinese female basketballer a “great big beast ... oh, a heifer.” If that is not racism, and misogyny – look it up, Alan – what does it take?

You want to talk “reverse apartheid”? Let’s talk real apartheid, and your strident opposition to the sanctions all those years ago, up to and including the point of discussing having the Wallabies go on a rebel tour. Mercifully, you were in the minority, the sanctions stuck and South Africa changed.

Bravo Essendon for using the power of sport to change things for the better, and for the likes of Adam Goodes for speaking up and making a stand. And yah boo sucks to recalcitrant reactionary commentators like Jones, and the commenters above, who simply don’t get it.

Check your watches, men. It is the 21st century, and your world is gone.

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

268 comments

  • Spot on again Fitzy. Hey and just so you know........it's only a racial slur when you say something negative about the Liberal Party......we'll according to A Jones anyway.

    Commenter
    Burto
    Location
    Emu Plains
    Date and time
    May 22, 2014, 1:20AM
    • what a crock, how is calling someone a "pig" and a"pussy" racism. Adam Goodes is exacly a gutless wonder after he attacked the 13 year old last year and a disgraceful Australian of the year

      Commenter
      john
      Location
      maitland
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 7:04AM
    • By all means stamp out racism, but what if a player is hairy? Hairy beard, or arms or legs. In those circumstances it doesn't matter what colour or ethnic persuasion he is, Gorilla would, in my view, be an ungraceful sledge...but not a racist one.

      At a much broader level, social media outrage is turning Australia into a puritanical nation. What a bunch of joyless gits we are all becoming.

      Commenter
      Flanders
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 7:33AM
    • I agree with Adam Goodes. This type of name calling has no place at the football nor in our society. It is offensive and it is racism.

      Commenter
      joe
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 8:42AM
    • In what way did Goodes 'attack' a 13 year old girl John? He certainly 'called' her on her behaviour and drew a line in the sand on what constitutes acceptable behaviour. He then publicly and privately took responsibility for those actions including supporting the girl who had no doubt been brought up by less-than-enlightened parents.

      Commenter
      Country Boy
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 8:50AM
    • @john did you read the article? The supporter also said "go back to where you came from". Why would he say that?

      Commenter
      george
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 8:52AM
    • Flanders, it doesn't matter what your view is, you haven't dealt with racial slurs your entire life, haven't been belittled, shunned, degraded, lost opportunities because of your race. Being called a gorilla has a horrible connotation for some people. There is no excuse for using the term bar ignorance perhaps. But now Goodes has brought the issue to attention in society, there is no excuse anymore. It's time we all made a stand against racism. Enough excuses.

      Commenter
      Peter
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 8:58AM
    • I could understand a 13 year old kid not realising it was racist but not a grown man.

      Commenter
      sherbert
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 9:08AM
    • @john - being called a pig or a pussy is not racist, but if your tired eyes continued through the sentence you would have seen the comment "go back to where you came from" this IS racist, so if i was to call you a philistine you would understand this is not racist, to say Adam attacked the 13 year old is also incorrect, if being pointed out and made to be accountable for your comments and actions is being attacked them maybe your sensitive and caring personality needs to understand the plight of indigenous Australian people from the people who came here from where they came from.

      Commenter
      Dan
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 9:13AM
    • Alan Jones is the greatest gift ever handed to the Left. Talk about bigotry and stereotyping, Jones enables so many Lefties to disingenuously argue he represents the views of the majority of the Right. It is a classic straw man argument dressed up in morality and empathy, but it doesn't represent the truth. Most reasonable people across the political spectrum regard Jones with distain.

      Commenter
      Flanders
      Date and time
      May 22, 2014, 9:26AM

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HuffPost Australia

AFL 2016

Round 1
Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
BRI vs NTH 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:25ES
FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs COL 13:45MCG
RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
HAW vs STK 14:10AS
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
MEL vs STK 13:45ES
ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 13:10G
CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs NTH 15:20ES
PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
BRI vs COL 19:25G
RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs ESS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs HAW 13:45G
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
STK vs FRE 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
BRI vs FRE 16:35G
GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 13:10ES
RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WCE 13:40G
FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
GCF vs STK 13:40MS
SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
ESS vs STK 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 15:20ES
BRI vs GWS 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs STK 19:25ES
GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
BRI vs PTA 19:25G
NTH vs STK 19:25ES
Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 19:50ES
Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CAR 13:45G
HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs SYD 19:25ES
PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
COL vs GCF 19:25ES
PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
BRI vs GEE 15:20G
ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
STK vs BRI 12:00ES
ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
View all
 

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