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Is it possible to find a right or wrong answer in the Buddy booing debate?

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Roar Pro
9th May, 2023

Since the boos echoed out at the MCG aimed at Lance Franklin on Sunday evening, the reaction has been astronomical, to say the least. 

Opinions have been divided and disagreements on the matter have materialised.

There are two camps here, and both share valid points. On one side, you have people supportive of the booing by claiming it’s part of the game and a way of putting off the best players.

Across the opposite fence, this act is viewed as unnecessary, especially toward a champion of the game in which Buddy certainly falls into that category, as well as fears that this incident could potentially lead to a similar outcome to that of Adam Goodes.

To those who are arguing that nothing has been proven as to why the Collingwood fans booed Buddy on Sunday, why has it become such a massive news headline?

Countless players receive jeers and boos not just in the AFL, but in many other sports. Why is it now and why is it this certain incident that has got so many people angry and up in arms?

The media carry a huge weight of responsibility when it comes to covering these types of stories. What’s most frustrating is how they seem to portray certain types of events compared to others. Why wasn’t there this much uproar regarding the booing directed at Jason Horne-Francis and Jack Ginnivan?

That’s not to suggest that those separate incidents weren’t covered by the media, but this situation surrounding Buddy has reached an entirely different level of scrutiny.

Lance Franklin of the Swans.

Lance Franklin of the Swans. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

To those who are pointing to racism being a factor in the booing because of Franklin’s indigenous background, again, nothing has been proven. Racism is disgusting and has no place in sports, let alone in society. Anyone hurling racist abuse should be dealt with accordingly. 

In a statement released by the Swans on Monday, there was one sentence that caught the attention of many. 

“We have been here before and sadly it seems some people have not learned from the past,” part of the statement read. 

This related to the incident involving the booing aimed at Swans legend Adam Goodes, who was racially vilified by a young Collingwood supporter in the stands. That was a dark stain on the AFL and we don’t want to see that revolting behaviour occur in the future. 

There are some people who are genuinely fearful of experiencing a similar incident again, and that’s fair enough. Perhaps, they could be concerned about Collingwood’s history and recent controversies surrounding racism.

Adam Goodes looks on

Adam Goodes (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)


Sunday was the first time in a decade that the Pies faced the Swans at the MCG, with their last meeting at the ground involving Adam Goodes receiving racial abuse from a young Collingwood fan, as stated before. Héritier Lumumba, Leon Davis, and Andrew Krakouer have all detailed their own experiences of racial misconduct at the club during their playing days. 

We live in a world now where awareness of mental health is growing by the day. Professional athletes are only human. In Horne-Francis and Ginnivan’s case, I have more sympathy towards them due to both being so young and inexperienced. 

So, if it’s just about booing, hasn’t that aspect of the game always been around since the AFL’s inception? Umpires cop the most heat, constantly abused and booed each game for some decisions which fans find unfair and questionable.

Professional players of most sports must understand the potential environment in which they are walking into. Supporters are passionate about their respective clubs, and rightfully so.

Especially being the home crowd, they want to create the most hostile and intimidating atmosphere possible with the aim of making the opposition uncomfortable.

Collingwood supporters were respectful during the minute of silence held before their Anzac Day clash a few weeks ago in front of a sold-out ‘G.


There’s the odd example of poor crowd behaviour from time to time associated with every club. In the Pies’ case, the general perception is that they booed Buddy because he’s such an incredible athlete. It would make less sense to boo a player like James Rowbottom or Robbie Fox, right?

Does the high volume of booing bother Franklin at all? Sydney coach John Longmire confirmed yesterday that the 36-year-old was detached from what transpired throughout the match. 

“He didn’t hear it during the game, he just wants to get onto the footy side of things, that’s what he’s focused on,” he said. 

Taking everything into account, are the levels of booing excessive at times? Yes. Does that mean booing should be wiped out of the game completely? No, so long as the line isn’t crossed with examples being racism and personal abuse which will never be tolerated. 

Whichever side of the fence you sit on for this debate, it’s difficult to come to a resolution where balance is found, let alone arguing that someone is right or wrong.

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