The Roar
The Roar


Not now, not ever: Why I won't boo Adam Goodes

30th July, 2015
1451 Reads

I won’t boo Adam Goodes. Not now, not ever.

I won’t lie. As a footballer he has annoyed me, but I am not so blinded by my prejudice that I can’t also recognise the brilliance of his play.

As a man though, Goodes sets as fine an example as anyone playing the game. With the AFL’s image in tatters we actually need more players like Adam Goodes to look up to.

Let’s face it, some AFL footballers have a penchant for getting into trouble. Goodes is not one of them.

He has not been photographed snorting cocaine. He has not had an affair with a teammate’s wife. He has not physically abused anyone. He has not sexually abused anyone. There are no photos of him naked on social media. He doesn’t send obscene text messages. He has not been picked up for drink driving. He has not been arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

He has not been arrested for being a public nuisance. He has not urinated on a shop front. He has not flashed his privates in public. He has not broken a teammate’s jaw in a fight. He has not been thrown out of a nightclub. He has not spent the night in a hotel room with an under-aged girl. He has not jumped all over someone else’s car while on a footy trip.

He hasn’t really done anything wrong at all.

Further to that, he has actually shown all the qualities that embody what many of us believe Australia is all about – the courage to stick up for yourself and your mates.


That’s exactly what he was doing two years ago when he singled out a member of the crowd who had uttered a racist remark. Not many of us know what it feels like to be constantly vilified, whether deliberately or through ignorance, but it can not be pleasant. It matters not if the perpetrator is male or female, 13 years old or 130 years old.

It simply should not happen.

Nicky Winmar and Michael Long were sick of fighting the battle with their fists and took a stand against on-field vilification years ago. Their actions changed the way AFL footballers approached the game. That the spotlight has turned now to the crowd is a natural progression of what they started, and Goodes was within his rights to make the stand that he did.

It was something that we all should have looked at and thought, “OK, there is obviously an issue here, how can we prevent it happening again?” But for many it was easier to label Goodes a sook and ignore the bigger issue.

The criticism he copped for highlighting the plight of Indigenous Australia while serving as Australian of the Year was also difficult to fathom. The position offers a perfect platform from which to raise awareness of issues. 2015 winner Rosie Batty used it to highlight the devastating effects of family violence. 2012 winner Geoffrey Rush highlighted the state of the Australian film industry. 2010 winner Professor Patrick McGorry highlighted the debilitating toll that mental illness takes on our society, in particular our young people. The list goes on.

Surely this is what we want in our Australians of the Year – people willing to speak out for what they believe in. If they don’t, then we are left with a meaningless figurehead.

The furore surrounding Goodes’ war dance bordered on the hysterical. It may not have been the wisest thing to do, but was anyone really, really threatened by it? Was anyone really offended by it? And if so, are they able to even explain why? Surely a middle finger raised by a cowardly fan in the relative anonymity of the crowd carries far more malicious intent than a dance done in front of a national audience.


The middle finger brigade are at every game. Just watch when the cameras zoom in on a player getting a free kick on the boundary line. You’ll see them every time. And yet, that is acceptable I suppose, because it is directed at a player, not the other way around. Strange world we live in.

The incessant booing that has followed Goodes this year is little more than bullying. The definition of bullying that is applied in my workplace makes mention of a repeated behaviour that is directed towards a person in a way that victimises, humiliates, undermines or threatens that person.


I’m no saint. When an opposition player knocks one of ‘my boys’ arse up with a crude tackle or a head high bump, I’ll boo and hiss with the best of them. Same if the umpire makes a howler of a decision in the goal square gifting the opposition a goal.

But that is where it ends. It doesn’t snowball into something else entirely.

I’ve asked a few people why they boo Goodes and the answer is almost always the same. It is because he is a tool, or a dickhead or a sook. But ask them to elaborate further and they struggle to articulate their reasons.

Well, I’d need something stronger to go on than that.


So no, I won’t boo Adam Goodes. Not now, not ever.