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Buddy calls out criminalisation of Indigenous Australians

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Sydney AFL superstar Lance Franklin has made a rare public foray into the race debate, noting Indigenous Australians are far more likely to be jailed than African-Americans.

Public figures around the world have thrown their support behind the protests which have rocked the US after the death of George Floyd.

A Minneapolis policeman has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

“Justice for all,” Franklin posted on Instagram on Wednesday.

“What’s happening in the US is happening on our own soil and all around the world. Thoughts and prayers are with George Floyd’s family and all affected by this tragedy and the tragedies before his murder.”

Hawthorn’s Chad Wingard was the first Indigenous AFL player to publicly call out racism in Australia this week in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, receiving support on Wednesday from his club captain Ben Stratton.

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St Kilda’s Brad Hill and former Brisbane Lions and Fremantle player Des Headland have also had their say.

But as the most high-profile player in the AFL, Franklin’s comments will garner more widespread attention.

Franklin re-posted part of an article written on Tuesday by the ABC’s Indigenous affairs correspondent Isabella Higgins.

“In some ways Australia’s criminalisation of its black citizens is even more pronounced than the United States but we don’t have music, movies and TV shows explaining it to us as regularly,” Franklin posted on Instagram.

“In the US, African Americans make up about 14 per cent of the population, and roughly 30 per cent of the country’s inmates.

“Indigenous Australians make up three per cent of the population and about 30 per cent of the prison population.

“We lock up Indigenous Australians at four times the rate of black Americans. It’s an even more jarring figure in the youth detention system, where about 50 per cent of all detainees are Indigenous.

“It’s a crude and imperfect comparison, but it still paints a picture of our justice system.”

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Lance Franklin Sydney Swans AFL Indigenous Round 2017

(AAP Image/David Moir)

Wingard took to social media to express his frustration with a lack of diversity in the mainstream media and the coverage of protests in the US.

“Regardless of the issue, it probably takes some balls to speak up and stuff like that,” Stratton told reporters on Wednesday.

“So probably in a world where everything gets judged and speech gets judged, I reckon it takes some balls and good on him, we’re behind him 100 per cent.”

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On Monday, Wingard said he would only participate in interviews he was contractually obliged to fulfil and would use his own platforms to share his opinions.

Stratton emphasised the club’s support for the 26-year-old and Hawthorn’s other Indigenous players.

“All we can do is support him and I think a lot of boys have supported him on social channels and stuff like that,” he said.

“So that’s all we can do as a club and we can continue celebrating what the Indigenous boys have given to this game, to this club and we’re lucky enough to have had some crackers over the years here and just to have crossed paths with them – we’re pretty lucky.”

© AAP