The booing of Sydney Swans star and former Australian of the Year Adam Goodes has dominated AFL coverage this week.
Rightly so, as it is an absolute disgrace.
What is baffling is why its occurring. I suspect there are multiple reasons.
Firstly, Australia simply isn’t prepared for sportspeople to speak on issues away from their sport. Time and time again, we see sportspeople being smashed for simply speaking their views on matters that aren’t necessarily to do with their chosen domain.
Can someone explain to me why David Pocock can’t have an opinion on gay marriage or environmental matters?
Goodes, in his time as Australian of the Year, had the right – no, the duty – to do exactly that. It’s the reason he was given the title, to effect change.
The sad truth is that Australians want, or expect, their sportspeople, particularly their footballers, to be oafish and when they’re not (shock, horror, they’re human beings with brains!) they get pillared for it.
Secondly – and hopefully one for the true football fans – is that Goodesy has played for free kicks on the field at various times during the last 12 months or so.
This might be the only reason for the consistent jibes directed Goodes’ way, but it still doesn’t explain the continued, repeated manner at a number of grounds. Surely 300-plus games of respect, not to mention two Brownlow medals, forgives some this?
Thirdly – unfortunately, the most plausible – is that Australia is still plagued by racism.
Is sport part of a far bigger problem underpinning our society? I’d like to think that’s it’s not, but it’s hard to escape the thought.
Finally, are people just sick of him? Has Adam Goodes, one of the genuine greats of AFL, played one season too many and thus he is suffering the wrath of the fans?
I’ll be interested to see what happens this Friday night at the SCG against Carlton.