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Winmar 'sad' at continual AFL abuse

Roar Guru
20th May, 2013
17

AFL great Nicky Winmar is sad to see indigenous players still being abused 20 years after he made his symbolic stand against racism in sport.

Winmar, who is in poor health, was speaking on a rare trip back to Melbourne to help celebrate the league’s indigenous round.

Central to the celebration is an iconic picture taken of Winmar after the Saints’ round-four win over Collingwood at Victoria Park in 1993.

After suffering constant racial abuse from Collingwood supporters, Winmar turned to face the crowd, lifted up his jumper and pointed to his skin.

“I am proud to be black,” he told his tormenters.

“I was pretty emotional about it the next day when I did see it,” Winmar said on Monday.

“A lot of people said, what happened? And I said to them I wanted people to know that I am black and I am proud.”

“I still get questioned about it today but I made a stand and that’s going to stay with me for the rest of my life.”

He is disappointed that racial abuse persists but praised the AFL for working hard to eliminate it.

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Winmar said he was heartened to see two unruly crowd members ejected from the ground recently for comments directed at Sudanese-born North Melbourne player Majak Daw.

“The supporters need to just hold their breath and just sit back and watch the game and let the kids enjoy it,” Winmar said.

“It’s very sad but they are very supportive of their teams and sometimes they don’t like, especially indigenous players, playing well.

“They should just sit back and relax and enjoy it no matter what colour or culture you are.”

Winmar and fellow indigenous teammate Gilbert McAdam revealed that on that day in 1993 they made a pact to answer the constant crowd abuse with an on-field onslaught.

“It was amazing, you get so fired up,” he said.

“It makes you feel like you want to go out and run amok on the field.

“We got spat on and sworn at but we went out and showed them we’re brothers, no matter what tribe we are or where we’re from.”

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Winmar, who played 230 games for St Kilda and 21 for the Western Bulldogs, had to be talked into returning to Melbourne from Western Australia as he continues to recover from the heart attack he suffered last September.