“Blaming Adam Goodes is like blaming a rape victim for the way that they dress” Swans chairman Andrew Pridham.
Studies have proven that race-related stress severely impacts the physical, psychological and social well-being of victims of the abuse.
One needs to go no further than recall how former Australian cricketer, Andrew Symonds, was painted as the villain when he was clearly the victim of a racial attack against the Indian cricket team.
Symonds drifted from the game disillusioned, following the ‘Monkeygate’ affair at SCG in 2008, never really returning to his top form.
What happened to the man who dispensed the abuse? Harbijan Singh’s three-match ban for racial vilification of Symonds was dropped following threats from the Indian Cricket Board that they would abandon their tour.
Both past Cricket Australia (CA) board member Alan Border and Test captain, Ricky Ponting, have since expressed regret about the lack of support that was given by CA to Symonds at the time.
It is clear for all to see that Goodes’ is suffering some sort of trauma over recent events.
Let’s hope that he can come back and play unaffected by it all like the champion that he is.
He and others need all the support they can get and they do not have to continually justify their hurt.
Attitudes like those stated not long ago in the parliament by the Attorney-General, Senator Brandis, that people have “a right to be bigots” are also not helpful to the situation.
AFL should learn from this example and not only rally to the support of the victim but also sanction the perpetrators.
It and the Swans also have a duty to provide its players with a safe work environment.
It should follow the lead from other parts of the world where such spectators are immediately evicted from the ground by security or police. Bans are also imposed which precludes them from attending future matches.
There are also legal remedies to consider provided by under the Racial Discrimination Act which make it unlawful to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate on the grounds of race, colour or ethnicity.
If all else fails, the Swans’ players can follow what happened in Italy when AC Milan’s players walked off in protest at racist chanting from fans targeting their Ghanian-German colleague, Kevin-Prince Boateng. It caused the game to be abandoned and sent a clear message.
Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that here.
Time for talking has stopped.