JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

No room for smugness in long fight against bigotry

Date

Chief sports columnist and associate editor with The Age

View more articles from Greg Baum

Email Greg

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Goodes racially abused by young Pies fan

Swans star Adam Goodes said he was 'gutted' by racial abuse from a 13-year-old girl in last night's match against Collingwood, the game which opened the AFL's indigenous round.

PT0M0S 620 349

Two images from 20 years apart - both of an indigenous man, a footballer, pointing in the face of racism - suggest that nothing has changed; that we have gone nowhere, as a code, as a sport, as a society.

In fact, what they show is there has been a fundamental change, though it is far from complete. Perhaps we in the AFL community did become a little too smug, thinking that gestures and ceremonies and totems would be enough; that we had fought the good fight, even the Goodes fight, and won. No longer.

In 1993, Nicky Winmar made his famous stand at Victoria Park. This round, indigenous round, marks the anniversary. Winmar is back in Melbourne and has been all over the media, reliving the moment, rehearsing the lessons, and on Friday night witnessing the inadvertent sequel.

Soldier for inclusion: Adam Goodes in Melbourne on Saturday talks at a news conference called to address the racial slur delivered by a 13-year-old girl.

Soldier for inclusion: Adam Goodes in Melbourne on Saturday talks at a news conference called to address the racial slur delivered by a 13-year-old girl. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui

Then, Winmar stood alone against a crowd, ignorant and vile. Now, the AFL crowd stands with Goodes against an individual. But let us be fair - really, he was pointing at what was in all respects a pocket of fans. His antagonist is a girl who - and he recognises this - did not understand the importance of her action. It is precisely the point, but it also means there must be no more pointing from us. Henceforth, it must be the business of her parents, family and peers.

Then, the crowd's behaviour was considered normal, and would have attracted no further notice, nor excited any other comment, except for Wayne Ludbey's famous photograph, which appeared on the front of the next day's Sunday Age, and even then was looked upon as a bit of a curio. Now, the delivery of one racist epithet by one spectator horrified people at the ground, who quickly put two and two together, and scandalised the wider community.

Then, Winmar pointed at himself, effectively demanding that we recognised him for who he is, a proud black man, a man with feelings. Remember, this was still a year before Collingwood president Allan McAlister's infamous remark that indigenous people were welcome at the club as long as they behaved like whites, and five years before Michael Long drew his line in the Anzac Day sand.

Nicky Winmar raises his jumper in response to racial taunts at Victoria Park on Saturday 17 April 1993.

Nicky Winmar raises his jumper in response to racial taunts at Victoria Park on Saturday 17 April 1993. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

Now, Goodes pointed at us, effectively demanding we have a look at ourselves for the far-from-perfect football-going public we are, though I'm sure it would have pained him still to have to think in terms of him and us. He has always been, as well as a standard-bearer for the indigenous community, a soldier for inclusion.

Then, Winmar, despite daylong abuse, had no other recourse other than to wait until the end of the game and point. Now, there is a process in place. Goodes paused during the game to bring the incident to the attention of authorities, who acted. Spectators still are blind, or at least one-eyed, but football grounds have eyes and ears.

Then, the moment took a toll on Winmar. Always volatile anyway, he did not play for the next three weeks because of a dispute with St Kilda over injury payments. But you suspect he also felt a little isolated. He had not set out to be hero or villain.

Now, Sydney rallied around Goodes, and so did Collingwood, and on Saturday Goodes was able to achieve a form of catharsis in a series of interviews in which he made his genuine hurt plain, and his sorrow that after all these years, it had come to this again. But he also expressed his concern for his youthful and already repentant provocateur. ''Let's support her, please,'' he tweeted, so graciously.

Then, Collingwood was a club in the dark ages, and far from alone in that. Now, it is a club reshaped by Eddie McGuire. Whatever else you make of McGuire, on the matter of making Collingwood a club that can look the world in the eye in all it does, including the fight against racism, he has been unswerving. Last year, Collingwood fans reported a Collingwood fan for delivering a racist epithet to a Gold Coast player. Though distraught at the result on Friday night, McGuire made it his first business to go to the Swans' rooms, seek out Goodes to apologise, then take to airwaves, his natural habitat, not to make excuses, but amends.

Then, the aftermath of the Winmar incident rumbled on and on, but incoherently; no one knew what to do about it. Now, the Goodes incident concentrated all minds on the scourge of racism in football, which despite a 20-year vigil is still not extinct. This time, you could say, it had a point.

Twitter -@GregBaum

74 comments so far

  • When I lived in Australia from 1963 for 50 years, the then VFL was full of racists mugs and it appears that not much has changed. I was a soccer player in Melbourne and the kind of racists hurtful comments levelled towards me by those well informed intelligent Aussie rule people was the best form of racism I have ever experienced. Compared to them the then apartheid mob was merely apprentices in the trade of racist tirades.

    Commenter
    Diego Garcia
    Location
    Not here
    Date and time
    May 26, 2013, 12:03AM
    • WEll said....Footy/NRL/AFL etc should not carry the blame for the ingrained racism in Australian Society - Australians should have a good look at themselves and their malignant and wrong opinions and views about our indigenous people. Until the mainstream society takes on change and starts to educate our young properly about the history of this country, it will go on. The shame is palpable today....reading some of the ignorant comments on here confirms my opinion on this country's ugly racist culture.

      Commenter
      Soot
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      May 26, 2013, 10:38AM
    • I'm seeing a lot of comments comparing individuals. Comparing a 13yo girl to a 33yo athlete. That's not the point.
      The fact she didn't know it was racist? Also not the point.
      We need to stamp out this behaviour, malicious as well as ignorant racism.
      Stop making excuses & start reconciling these problems, coz I'm sure my 7yo daughter knows better than to call a national icon an "ape" & why that's unacceptable.
      Maybe if parents & other adult role models set a better example rather than bury their young in electronic devices & ignored these issues, we'd create a better society.

      Commenter
      SAM AYOUBI
      Date and time
      May 26, 2013, 10:46AM
    • To Dago Garcia- Check out your native Spain for current cuuting edge racism

      Commenter
      Ken
      Date and time
      May 26, 2013, 1:41PM
    • Hello ken, how typical, what makes you think that I am from spain? A name, I would like to share with you Ken that I am originally from the Island of Diego Garcia, read up a bit and find out what actaully happened to the inhabitants of Diego Garcia. Then you might understand what discrimination, racism and prejudice is all about.......But I am not holding my breath.

      Commenter
      Diego Garcia
      Location
      Not here
      Date and time
      May 26, 2013, 7:48PM
    • Eddie is right about the attacks on immigrants (457 visas, asylum seekers, etc) not being helpful. It starts at the top at our national borders.

      Add to this Melbourne's traditional attacks (e.g. by the State government) on other cities/states in Australia (e.g. Sydney) and you have a culture of discrimination on the basis of where you happen to be born or happen to live. It translates to our state borders, our towns, our cities, and even the suburbs within our cities.

      It's time us Victorians grew up and stopped discriminating against people on the basis of their background or origin.

      Commenter
      Bennopia
      Location
      West Footscray
      Date and time
      May 27, 2013, 2:14PM
  • What a beat up!

    Commenter
    Kouta
    Date and time
    May 26, 2013, 12:53AM
    • What a load of claptrap.

      Commenter
      John
      Date and time
      May 26, 2013, 5:34AM
      • Grow a brain...you are an embarrassment to us all.

        Commenter
        Soot
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        May 26, 2013, 10:40AM
      • The embarrassment is that a country that prided itself on producing some of the toughest sports people on Earth now produces blokes who run off crying because someone (a little girl) called them a name.

        Commenter
        John
        Date and time
        May 26, 2013, 5:03PM

    More comments

    Make a comment

    You are logged in as [Logout]

    All information entered below may be published.

    Error: Please enter your screen name.

    Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

    Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

    Error: Please enter your comment.

    Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

    Post to

    You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

    Thank you

    Your comment has been submitted for approval.

    Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

    Related Coverage

    2014 Home and Away

    Round 1
    Fri, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
    COL 46 vs FRE 116 Report Stats
    Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
    GWS 99 vs SYD 67 Report Report Stats
    GCF 87 vs RIC 69 Report Stats
    Sun, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
    CAR 87 vs PTA 120 Report Stats
    Thu, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
    GEE 119 vs ADE 81 Report Stats
    Fri, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
    NTH 60 vs ESS 99 Report Stats
    Sat, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
    HAW 139 vs BRI 91 Stats
    STK 68 vs MEL 51 Report Stats
    Sun, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
    WCE 134 vs WBU 69 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 2
    Thu, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
    RIC 98 vs CAR 86 Report Stats
    Fri, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
    ESS 86 vs HAW 90 Report Stats
    Sat, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
    STK 95 vs GWS 88 Stats
    PTA 127 vs ADE 73 Report Stats
    FRE 87 vs GCF 39 Report Stats
    SYD 69 vs COL 89 Report Stats
    Sun, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
    BRI 68 vs GEE 93 Stats
    MEL 30 vs WCE 123 Report Stats
    WBU 54 vs NTH 83 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 3
    Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
    HAW 137 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
    Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
    WBU 100 vs RIC 98 Report Stats
    ADE 71 vs SYD 134 Report Stats
    GCF 114 vs BRI 61 Stats
    WCE 83 vs STK 58 Report Stats
    COL 76 vs GEE 87 Report Stats
    Sun, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
    GWS 79 vs MEL 47 Report Stats
    NTH 97 vs PTA 90 Report Stats
    ESS 138 vs CAR 57 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 4
    Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
    RIC 72 vs COL 110 Report Stats
    Sat, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
    CAR 58 vs MEL 81 Report Stats
    PTA 159 vs BRI 46 Report Stats
    GWS 83 vs WBU 110 Report Stats
    GEE 107 vs WCE 32 Report Stats
    GCF 49 vs HAW 148 Report Stats
    Sun, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
    SYD 48 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
    STK 50 vs ADE 136 Report Stats
    FRE 113 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 5
    Thu, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
    BRI 63 vs RIC 106 Report Stats
    Sat, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
    COL 93 vs NTH 58 Report Stats
    SYD 92 vs FRE 75 Report Stats
    WCE 56 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
    ESS 65 vs STK 81 Report Stats
    Sun, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
    ADE 137 vs GWS 72 Report Stats
    MEL 78 vs GCF 86 Report Stats
    WBU 91 vs CAR 119 Report Stats
    Mon, 21 AprTimes shown AEST
    GEE 106 vs HAW 87 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 6
    Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
    COL 83 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
    STK 79 vs BRI 82 Report Stats
    FRE 61 vs NTH 74 Report Stats
    Sat, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
    GCF 134 vs GWS 94 Report Stats
    CAR 92 vs WCE 89 Report Stats
    MEL 38 vs SYD 69 Report Stats
    Sun, 27 AprTimes shown AEST
    WBU 83 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
    RIC 52 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
    PTA 107 vs GEE 67 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 7
    Fri, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR 70 vs COL 104 Report Stats
    Sat, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
    HAW 175 vs STK 30 Report Stats
    GWS 97 vs PTA 132 Report Stats
    ADE 67 vs MEL 70 Report Stats
    BRI 44 vs SYD 123 Stats
    ESS 73 vs WBU 65 Report Stats
    Sun, 04 MayTimes shown AEST
    NTH 77 vs GCF 120 Report Stats
    GEE 81 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
    WCE 54 vs FRE 73 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 8
    Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
    SYD 107 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
    Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
    PTA 94 vs FRE 76 Report Stats
    BRI 57 vs ESS 65 Report Stats
    MEL 83 vs WBU 99 Report Stats
    Sun, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
    WCE 188 vs GWS 77 Report Stats
    Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
    STK 69 vs CAR 101 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 9
    Thu, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
    ADE 76 vs COL 55 Report Stats
    Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS 64 vs SYD 114 Report Stats
    Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
    RIC 74 vs MEL 91 Report Stats
    NTH 125 vs BRI 38 Report Stats
    FRE 96 vs GEE 64 Report Stats
    Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
    STK 87 vs GCF 125 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 10
    Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
    GEE 111 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
    Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
    GWS 41 vs RIC 154 Report Stats
    COL 109 vs WCE 101 Report Stats
    PTA 100 vs HAW 86 Report Stats
    Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
    GCF 119 vs WBU 74 Report Stats
    CAR 81 vs ADE 76 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 11
    Thu, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
    SYD 148 vs GEE 38 Report Stats
    Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
    STK 54 vs COL 140 Report Stats
    Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
    MEL 75 vs PTA 95 Report Stats
    BRI 98 vs CAR 91 Report Stats
    ESS 104 vs RIC 54 Report Stats
    Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
    ADE 109 vs GCF 77 Report Stats
    WBU 51 vs FRE 89 Report Stats
    HAW 94 vs GWS 87 Report Stats
    WCE 44 vs NTH 82 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 12
    Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
    GEE 107 vs CAR 102 Report Stats
    Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
    HAW 123 vs WCE 79 Report Stats
    PTA 129 vs STK 59 Report Stats
    WBU 87 vs BRI 95 Report Stats
    GWS 66 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
    Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
    GCF 74 vs SYD 109 Report Stats
    FRE 90 vs ADE 50 Report Stats
    NTH 116 vs RIC 88 Report Stats
    Mon, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
    MEL 28 vs COL 61 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 13
    Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR 90 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
    Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
    RIC 85 vs FRE 105 Report Stats
    SYD 98 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
    WCE 103 vs GCF 100 Report Stats
    BRI 80 vs GWS 125 Report Stats
    ADE 109 vs NTH 73 Report Stats
    Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
    GEE 133 vs STK 37 Report Stats
    COL 98 vs WBU 106 Report Stats
    ESS 77 vs MEL 78 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 14
    Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
    RIC 51 vs SYD 62 Report Stats
    Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
    PTA 128 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
    HAW 115 vs COL 86 Report Stats
    GCF 118 vs GEE 78 Report Stats
    FRE 105 vs BRI 22 Report Stats
    ESS 101 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
    Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
    GWS 100 vs CAR 92 Report Stats
    STK 70 vs WCE 103 Report Stats
    MEL 66 vs NTH 107 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 15
    Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
    GEE 89 vs ESS 80 Report Stats
    Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
    HAW 116 vs GCF 63 Report Stats
    STK 73 vs RIC 117 Report Stats
    FRE 88 vs WCE 81 Report Stats
    SYD 106 vs GWS 60 Stats
    BRI 70 vs NTH 66 Report Stats
    Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
    WBU 91 vs MEL 85 Report Stats
    ADE 99 vs PTA 76 Report Stats
    COL 91 vs CAR 76 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 16
    Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
    NTH 108 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
    Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC 79 vs BRI 54 Stats
    GWS 72 vs ADE 140 Report Stats
    GCF 80 vs COL 75 Report Stats
    MEL 34 vs FRE 97 Report Stats
    PTA 60 vs ESS 62 Report Stats
    Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
    CAR 151 vs STK 66 Report Stats
    WCE 51 vs SYD 79 Report Stats
    GEE 69 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 17
    Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
    ADE 92 vs HAW 104 Report Stats
    Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
    MEL 36 vs GEE 102 Report Stats
    NTH 92 vs STK 33 Report Stats
    WBU 94 vs GCF 66 Report Stats
    BRI 64 vs WCE 76 Report Stats
    SYD 122 vs CAR 51 Report Stats
    Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC 126 vs PTA 106 Report Stats
    ESS 103 vs COL 39 Report Stats
    FRE 136 vs GWS 60 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 18
    Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
    CAR 109 vs NTH 86 Report Stats
    Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
    STK 118 vs FRE 60 Report Stats
    GWS 87 vs GEE 94 Report Stats
    Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
    PTA 72 vs MEL 69 Report Stats
    WBU 94 vs ESS 101 Report Stats
    Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
    WCE 42 vs RIC 59 Report Stats
    Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
    BRI 110 vs GCF 56 Report Stats
    HAW 104 vs SYD 94 Report Stats
    Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
    COL 82 vs ADE 98 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 19
    Thu, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
    FRE 83 vs CAR 78 Report Stats
    Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
    SYD 79 vs ESS 57 Report Stats
    Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
    ADE 105 vs WCE 136 Report Stats
    RIC 89 vs GWS 62 Report Stats
    GCF 117 vs STK 64 Report Stats
    NTH 79 vs GEE 111 Report Stats
    Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
    MEL 51 vs BRI 74 Stats
    HAW 107 vs WBU 45 Report Stats
    COL 76 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 20
    Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
    RIC 95 vs ESS 77 Report Stats
    Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
    GWS 51 vs NTH 126 Report Stats
    CAR 97 vs GCF 58 Report Stats
    HAW 115 vs MEL 65 Report Stats
    PTA 58 vs SYD 84 Report Stats
    GEE 81 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
    Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
    BRI 63 vs ADE 168 Report Stats
    STK 99 vs WBU 122 Report Stats
    WCE 126 vs COL 66 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 21
    Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
    CAR 76 vs GEE 82 Report Stats
    Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
    SYD 127 vs STK 56 Stats
    GCF 47 vs PTA 56 Report Stats
    ESS 77 vs WCE 74 Report Stats
    COL 56 vs BRI 123 Report Stats
    ADE 69 vs RIC 79 Report Stats
    Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
    NTH 111 vs WBU 61 Report Stats
    MEL 34 vs GWS 98 Report Stats
    FRE 110 vs HAW 91 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 22
    Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
    PTA 140 vs CAR 37 Report Stats
    Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
    NTH 101 vs ADE 94 Report Stats
    ESS 108 vs GCF 89 Report Stats
    GWS 67 vs COL 75 Report Stats
    WCE 119 vs MEL 53 Report Stats
    HAW 94 vs GEE 71 Report Stats
    Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
    BRI 48 vs FRE 106 Report Stats
    WBU 67 vs SYD 130 Report Stats
    RIC 98 vs STK 72 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 23
    Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
    COL 56 vs HAW 121 Stats
    Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
    CAR 90 vs ESS 90 Stats
    FRE 105 vs PTA 97 Stats
    SYD 65 vs RIC 68 Stats
    NTH 123 vs MEL 93 Stats
    GEE 143 vs BRI 81 Stats
    Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
    GCF 99 vs WCE 151 Stats
    ADE 141 vs STK 62 Stats
    WBU 109 vs GWS 115 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    AFL Finals Round 1
    Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
    HAW 104 vs GEE 68 Report Stats
    Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
    SYD 93 vs FRE 69 Stats
    NTH 93 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
    Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
    PTA 132 vs RIC 75 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    AFL Finals Round 2
    Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
    GEE 92 vs NTH 98 Stats
    Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
    FRE 83 vs PTA 105 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    AFL Finals Round 3
    Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
    SYD 136 vs NTH 65 Report Stats
    Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
    HAW 97 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    AFL Finals Round 4
    Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
    SYD 74 vs HAW 137 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    AFL Home and Away
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D % Pts
    Sydney Swans 22 17 5 0 142.88 68
    Hawthorn 22 17 5 0 140.78 68
    Geelong Cats 22 17 5 0 113.77 68
    Fremantle 22 16 6 0 130.40 64
    Port Adelaide 22 14 8 0 129.92 56
    North Melbourne 22 14 8 0 117.04 56
    Essendon 22 12 9 1 106.34 50
    Richmond 22 12 10 0 105.77 48
    View all
     
    Featured advertisers