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The AFL’s Indigenous Round and the innocent face of racism

Friday night’s AFL match between Collingwood and Sydney marked the opening of the code’s Indigenous Round. Yet the chance for the contribution of Indigenous footballers to the game - both past and present…

The racist taunt aimed at Sydney player Adam Goodes from a young fan provides an opportunity for education rather than humiliation. Twitter/Channel 7

Friday night’s AFL match between Collingwood and Sydney marked the opening of the code’s Indigenous Round. Yet the chance for the contribution of Indigenous footballers to the game - both past and present - to be recognised and celebrated was marred by a racial taunt from a young supporter at Sydney’s Indigenous star Adam Goodes.

The round of games aimed to recognise the contribution of Indigenous people and culture to the broader Australian society. While showcasing the unique talent and pride in culture of the Indigenous community, it simultaneously noted the struggle against racism that has accompanied the achievements of many Indigenous people in this country.

While the AFL should be proud of the work it has done to stamp out racism in the sport, the incident where Goodes was called an “ape” by a crowd member has come to be the defining moment of the round. It serves as a reminder that there is still a long way to go to remove racism from Australian society.

What is most shocking about the incident is that it is not a boozed-up, angry supporter being identified by TV cameras as the perpetrator of the abuse. We have become accustomed to seeing this in racist incidents in the public and sporting arena, most recently involving North Melbourne’s Sudanese-born player Majak Daw.

This racist slur, however - one which left Goodes visibly hurt and struggling to continue with the game - was made by a 13 year-old girl. As Goodes later commented:

I turned around and when I saw it was a young girl and I thought she was 14, that was my initial thought, I was just like “really?”. I just thought how could that happen?

I wrote in a piece for The Conversation recently that for racism to be challenged, bystanders need to take responsibility and stand up to perpetrators. Be it through direct action or by using social media to publicise incidents, awareness should be raised and abusers “named and shamed”.

However, when the abuser is a 13 year-old girl who doesn’t understand what it means to call an Indigenous person, or a black person from any cultural background, an “ape”, what is the value of this? And what then is an appropriate action for someone who is not filled with hatred but is ignorant of the harm she had caused?

This issue was raised in the response of AFL and club officials. While quick to condemn the racism and provide support to Adam Goodes, they were also concerned about the girl’s welfare. Collingwood president Eddie McGuire was quick to apologise to Goodes on behalf of the club, whilst also showing support for the young Collingwood supporter who he said would receive “counselling services”. He later stated: “we won’t be abandoning her”.

AFL boss Andrew Demetriou also called for the girl to be supported, claiming that though there was zero tolerance for racism in the AFL:

..what we do have to understand is this is a 13-year-old girl. We have to be very, very sensitive and very, very careful about how this girl gets treated from this point onwards.

This incident highlights the complexity with which racism enters a society and is normalised until the meaning of insidious, racist terms become dispersed, invisible to some who would voice them. The taunts, however, are no less deeply felt by those groups who cannot forget the original meanings of the term, and the personal and community-wide legacy they have left.

In a testament to the quality of Goodes as an ambassador for the sport and his community, he later called for the girl to receive support despite initially pointing out the girl to security guards. This demonstrates the generosity and graciousness of a man who has achieved much, despite having to overcome the hurt and pain of his early years where he was verbally taunted on the basis of his race and appearance.

In his press conference the next day, Goodes explained that it was now about education for the girl and for society. While this meant for him that he had to make a stand for himself, his family and his community, to tell people “that a simple name, a simple word, can cut so deep”, he did not blame the girl and asked for the public to give her support, just like he had received:

I just hope that people give the 13 year-old the same sort of support because she needs it, her family need it, the people around them need it. It’s not a witch hunt. I don’t want people to go after this young girl.

This is significant, given that social media provides a platform not just for condemning racism, but also for bullying people who have made a public error of judgement.

Perhaps there is something positive to be made out of this untimely reminder of the persistence of racism in Australian society. Rather than these words coming from a deeply entrenched, racist world view, it came from an innocent heart which can learn from the experience.

This is summed up perfectly by Adam Goodes, who called for education instead of naming and shaming “so it doesn’t happen again”. What a champion.

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75 Comments sorted by

  1. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    A 13-year-old-yelled something stupid at a football match.

    She was then detained and questioned by police for two hours, without her parents present (http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/afl/teenage-girl-apologises-for-racist-insult-in-letter-to-adam-goodes/story-e6frepfx-1226650580225).

    Collingwood's decided to arrange 'racism counselling services' for her, her friends, and family.

    Now articles like this accuse her of 'marring' the 'chance for contribution of Indigenous footballers to the game to be recognised and celebrated'. She serves as a 'reminder that there is still a long way to go to remove racism from Australian society'.

    Is this treatment of the teenager appropriate? Is this an effective way to fight racism?

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    1. James Jenkin

      EFL Teacher Trainer

      In reply to John Crest

      I see.

      Let's take a hypothetical case of another undesirable behaviour - bullying.

      Imagine 13-year old Amanda is accused of bullying. She calls a classmate a 'fat pig'. She then apologises.

      Is it then fair or effective to:
      - bring in police to question her for two hours
      - have her, her friends and family undertake an education program
      - name her the 'face of bullying' in academic commentary

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    2. Mark Jablonski

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to James Jenkin

      James, your argument lacks merit.

      A classroom is not a sports stadium. The target of the bullying is not a high-profile and famous sports star. School bullying, while still tremendously damaging, is not on the same scale.

      The 2-hour police questioning (especially without the parents) is over the top, I agree, but the idea of further education, support and a public apology is not, especially given the timing and the situation.

      Also - and at the risk of being inflammatory - I don't buy the "I didn't know it was a racist insult" line. "Ape" is not a common-use insult in anything I've ever witnessed, either in my generation or my daughter's.

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    3. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Mark Jablonski

      She wasn't questioned by police for two hours either, she was detained by them for that length of time (assuming her mother is not exaggerating).

      Most other people held by police could expect a far longer period than that.

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    4. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Mark Jablonski

      Mark, Of course you are not inflammatory merely ignorant. Ray Gabelich and Len Thompson were regularly called apes. In fact it is extremely puzzling that the girl was only accused of using a single noun to describe Goodes. In my time at least five or six adjectives would have preceded any noun on the football field. Given your photo, perhaps you could lend Adam Goodes a tutu for his next game.

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    5. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to John Crest

      So the police detained a 13 year old girl for only two hours. Most girls in the Congo and Somalia and the Sudan are only detained by police and soldiers by this same amount of time.

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    6. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      I doubt the girl was handled by the police in quite the same manner as if she'd been in the Congo or Somalia though.

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    7. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to John Crest

      John Crest you seem to miss Philip Dowling's point, what if the police were Collingwood supporters too? Who knows what might have happened to her. Forget about the Congo and Somalia, they might have turned her over to the cheer squad.to learn even more vile sledges.

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    8. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      And quite possibly removed some of her teeth (sorry, "teef"), just to make sure she fit in comfortably with her new cohort.

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  2. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Good article Amelia!

    My wife and I love AFL football are regular attendees at AFL matches at the MCG and Docklands Stadium and go to matches, our team, the Saints, may not be playing in weekly throughout the season and finals . Despite the massive crowds in Melbourne and the endless excitement and passion in a game, I cannot recall hearing a racist comment for years. I don't believe the people around such an unwanted remark would tolerate it and turn on the person concerned or get security to…

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  3. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    Since it was the indigenous round how do we know there was a racist undertone to the ape comment? Shouldn't she have shouted "You are all apes" if she was motivated by racism?
    What sort of racist goes to the indigenous round anyway?
    I assume that the girl in question is not visible in the photo accompany this article? It would be shocking breach of media ethics if she were - more shocking then the original incident.

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    1. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      The girl in question is clearly visible in the picture, but as she voluntarily outed herself on national television yesterday, I can't see how any media ethics are in question.

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    2. David Coles

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      'What sort of racist goes to the indigenous round anyway? '

      I suppose that even racists enjoy football.

      The girl was clearly shown on national TV being removed from the ground. How can it be a breach of ethics for her to be shown in photos now?

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    3. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to John Crest

      Voluntarily!???!!!!
      I seem to remember when an underage girl claimed to have been gang raped by AFL players the media was careful to conceal her identity.
      What sort of monsters have we become when we glory in this ritual humiliation of 13 year olds? And pat yourselves on the back for our superior morality while doing so?

      Good Lord!

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    4. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to David Coles

      Oh this is the "everyone else is doing it" version of media ethics?

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    5. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      No one humiliated the 13yo girl.

      The treatment and coverage of her was (as per Goodes' request), focussed on education and rehabilitation.

      She chose to stand in front of a television camera and read aloud the apology she gave Goodes in private. If her actions weren't voluntary, we can at least be sure they weren't forced on her by the media.

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    6. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to John Crest

      Rehabilitation?
      I was unaware she had a criminal record as well. Do you have any more details?
      John Crest, we all free to choose the values we see as important. One of my values is despising the practice of ritual humiliation of children in the media.
      I am happy to accept I represent a minority amongst Australians.

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    7. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      Rehabiliation has a broader meaning than its use in criminal justice.

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    8. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      I would have thought that most people would appreciate that the use of the word in reference to an indigenous player would be seen to have a racist undertone.

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    9. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Greg North

      Perhaps she only saw a football player, and not an indigenous football player.

      There are many animal slurs - silly cow, mad dog, slimy snake, great ape etc.......

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    10. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Sean Lamb

      "ritual humiliation of a teenage girl" ..."good lord" indeed ...

      What a white honky marginalisation thing to say ... this 'white trash' comment (whether by intent or otherwise, with the same outcome) is intended to compel the reader to pick a side; black or white.

      Goodes came through with the goods; expressing a hurt endured for some 200+ years, conveyed in a sorrow of one human indoctrinated rather than educated ... this is not a picking sides exercise; its a picking of the right thing to do ... and if this young girl can learn that the spoken word can wound more deeply, she will be as Adam Goodes is ... an asset to her people, the Australian people ...

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    11. David Heasley

      Contracts manager

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      See now this statement is "racist"...

      "What a white honky marginalisation thing to say ... this 'white trash' comment (whether by intent or otherwise, with the same outcome) is intended to compel the reader to pick a side; black or white.?

      But unlike the "tough guy" referred to above, us "white honkeys" will (at least in my case) just ignore it as the ignorant rant it is and move on. A statement only has the power that the reciever chooses to give it.
      Perhaps some peoplke should remember the old nursery ryme:

      "stick and stones may break my bones etc..."?

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    12. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      "What a white honky marginalisation thing to say"
      I suppose I could jump up and down about racism - but to be honest you can call me anything you like.
      I don't have a problem with Goodes' reaction - it was spontaneous and genuine. I do have a problem with the media exploiting a child for their grotesque morality pageant.
      Dr Johns backhandedly acknowledges that the girl probably wasn't racist - what sort of racist goes to cheer on her team in the indigenous round?
      But then in a display of breathtaking hypocritical exploitation proceeds to co-opt the child and the entire incident into her own narrow academic hobbyhorse.

      The most gob-smacking aspect of this, is the media and associates don't even seem to be aware of how appalling their behavior is.

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    13. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      None of yours tend to roll of my tongue Stephen and I'm more likely to in private use animal or mongrel if I see a low cowardly act and have mentioned as much in a separate post.
      I am more aware of my surrounds if at the football and so will usually be more reserved and possibly the lower acts are more observed when watching via a television screen, particularly with replays.

      That said, Ape would never spring to my mind and it probably only came out because of the proximity of Adam Goodes.
      It would have been used because of a particular meaning, even with it coming from a 13 YO female teenager and though I've not seen reports of the apology, that is at least a step in the right direction.

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  4. David Paton

    logged in via Facebook

    "While the AFL should be proud of the work it has done to stamp out racism in the sport..."

    Really? AFL is the only sport in Australia (that i am aware of) that selects teams based entirely on race. I wonder if there will be a national outcry if next season indigenous Australians are deemed not eligible for the national team as "white" Australians are this season.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to David Paton

      " AFL is the only sport in Australia (that i am aware of) that selects teams based entirely on race. "

      Rugby League has had a pre season match of Indigenous Vs All Stars as a celebration of Indigenous players but what is the race selection going on in the AFL?

      Perhaps there could be some teams who might include an indigenous player ahead of a non indigenous player if selection was line ball and for the indigenous week but even then I would be surprised if that was happening and hardly racism as you infer.

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    2. David Paton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg
      The AFL have determined that the make up of the Australian team to go to Ireland for the mixed rules games will be limited to Indigenous players. Hard lines if you are a non-indigenous player at your peak then.
      http://www.smh.com.au/afl/afl-news/afl-aims-for-indigenous-allstars-trip-to-ireland-20130521-2jz55.html

      And as i said, if next year it is announced that "indigenous players will not be considered" can you imagine the outcry?

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to David Paton

      Aha, wasn't aware of that David and I suppose it'll only be a big deal if we want to make it so, the falling interest in Indigenous Vs All Stars and the internationals with Ireland seeming to be behind the promotion by mainly Demetriou who certainly seems to be something of a dictator when it comes to the AFL.

      I note the report says Clubs themselves have been cautious with response even if keeness has been shown by quite a few indigenous players and neither is surprising for I could understand…

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  5. Les McNamara

    Researcher

    I think there are many positives to draw from this... It looks as though the matter was handled well by all involved. A person that shouted racial abuse during a match intended to celebrate indigenous culture and she was immediately and publicly called on it. The matter was treated seriously by match officials, authorities and the general public. People recognised that 13yo children say stupid things and that racism is a societal issue. The girl apologised and people rallied to support the target of the abuse and the perp, and the AFL committed to work with schools on racism education. It's harder to find the negatives in the wash-up of this incident.

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  6. Stephen Ralph

    carer at n/a

    In this particular incident I think the reaction was overkill.

    The girl's comments were not intentionally racist, but probably unfortunate under the circumstances.

    How often do the umpires get called bastards or worse.........doesn't mean they were born out of wedlock.

    There is such an emphasis on winning and victory these days, that often comments are made to enhance opposition. Not saying there's any excuse for racist comments, but there needs to be some perspective.

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    1. David Heasley

      Contracts manager

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      With respect thats arguable...

      "How often do the umpires get called bastards or worse.........doesn't mean they were born out of wedlock."

      I mean have you seen the standard of the umpires???

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  7. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    Yes Adam Goodes is a champion in many respects and a great shame that a great game he had would be marred by something like this.

    Security should have realised how old she was and asked if she had family with her rather than just march her out alone and then police could have been speaking to her and family.
    Hopefully she has learnt from her behaviour and it will be an example for others to learn from too.

    The other issue it does raise is just what kind of language when barracking is acceptable…

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  8. Mark Pollock

    Analyst

    Supposedly the girl didn't know that "ape" was a racist term. Nonetheless, she will be hauled off to "counselling" for a crime that she didn't know she was committing. It should also be noted that her offence is not even at the level of a "thought crime" as clearly the intent to offend racially was not present.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mark Pollock

      Oh come on Mark, thirteen year olds know exactly what they are saying and this one would have known what it meant.
      Even in that still shot from video footage, look at her face and it's not so much one of anger as one of Oh oh! and maybe even a touch of embarassment.

      " It should also be noted that her offence is not even at the level of a "thought crime" as clearly the intent to offend racially was not present. "
      So you know what she was thinking eh! , just as I know that using the word Ape was intended to be abuse and a low form of abuse.

      It is good that she has come forth with an apology whatever form any counselling should take which will hopefully involve her family fully supporting the counselling as brief as it may be.

      Maybe a great approach would be for her to have front up to a group of indigenous people, be they sports persons, footballers or whatever and discuss indigenous aspects of life with them.

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    2. Mark Pollock

      Analyst

      In reply to Greg North

      Most 13 year olds wouldn't know if their a*rs was on fire.

      I can only take her word for it. This may be unsatisfactory but it is more accurate than mind-reading.

      "Ape" may be abuse. It may even be a low form of abuse. Who gets to determine that it is racist abuse? I have always understood that Ape was abuse for a thick, heavy thuggish person. When did it become become reserved for the racists?

      You're really serious about send a 13 year old girl off for counselling for doing something which she may not have known was wrong? I think you just like the idea of re-education for its own sake.

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  9. Raine S Ferdinands

    Education at Education

    Oh that poor child. She must be handled carefully and sensitively. She is soooo innocent and naive and is not capable of understanding 'racism'. Apparently some of us have acquired a racist gene from birth; nothing we can do about it. Parents are not to be blamed, the environment is not to be blames and no one must be accountable for this behaviour of this innocent, angelic14 year old (albeit biologically capable of being a mother). Let's blame her school and her teachers, Aboriginal people and Jesus.

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  10. Peter Hindrup

    consultant

    What bothers me in all of this is a grown man ‘devastated’ by a kid calling him a name!

    Kids (used to?) Call each other names on an ongoing basis. Part of growing up.

    An Ape? Yeah, a hairless ape, as you are!

    Hurt by name calling, in a situation where there is, and can be no possibility of physical intimidation, and there is this much fuss?

    Think of those living in the Middle East and what they have to cope with and consider whether or not this is just a bit precious.

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    1. David Heasley

      Contracts manager

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Without condoning racism (I don't) I think the whole affair has been handled badly and blown out of proportion. A big tough footballer got upset by a comment he considered racist (arguable) and the alleged perpetrator was handled in a manner that was (on the facts put forward so far) inappropriate and (if she was detained and "spoken to" by police) arguably illegal. (We don't know exactly what happend so it is impossible to comment with authority).
      Isn't it time some people (eg Highly paid "tough" footballers) toughened up? It's a mans game (or used to be) and some of the sooks playing today should be playing netball.
      If it had been a toothless Collingwood feral shouting (clearly) abusive / racist comments it would be a different matter.
      I just hope her handling is investigated. I've dealt with the thugs they call security at these grounds and to say they have no idea of the correct (or legal) way to do things is putting it mildly.

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    2. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      another ignorant whitey ... a consultant even (in mediation no doubt) ... not understanding nor wishing to understand; chooses to muddy the water with a comparative of the Middle East ...

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    3. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      Muddies the water? How?

      First, calling anybody an ape, to me, does not indicate colour or race.

      Second, anybody who curls up hurt because somebody, particularly a kid, called them 'a name!'

      Oh hell, grow a pair!

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Don't know what field you consult in Peter but doesn't any consultation need to be within the context of a topic to be effective, like you'd not go and consult on national highway construction with Riverina farmers concerned about water management, or would you?

      The middle east is the middle east with all its problems and they do not get given a thought at a top level football match I'd suggest, that match only also being the opening match of the indigenous round, a round specifically so called…

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to David Heasley

      " I think the whole affair has been handled badly ...........(if she was detained and "spoken to" by police) arguably illegal. (We don't know exactly what happend so it is impossible to comment with authority). "

      Sometimes it is just better not to comment (arguably)

      For what its worth, the girl was shown walking up the aisle, a security guy behind her and one in front and I reckon if she had been roughly handled or anything, we would have heard about it.

      It should not matter who says something but what is said.

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    6. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg: certainly counselling was needed, but it was not the kid who needed it.

      My reference to the middle east was to put some perspective into this. If you honestly believe that being called an ape is, or can be ‘devastating’, then I have no idea on what planet you live.

      This guy was under no threat, no chance of the kid doing him physical harm, nobody else knew, or cared, what the kid called him.

      The other point is, how in the context of a sporting contest how is a player/competitor so disengaged that they even heard what was said, midst the noise, let alone who said it?

      Is a long time ago, but in the course of a contest, I simply shut out the noise.

      David: ‘some of the sooks playing today should be playing netball. Watch a few games!

      Did you ever see Sharelle McMahon, ex Australian captain play? I saw her put the classic shoulder charge on an opponent, knock her fair out of the court AND get away with it!

      Apart from that I agree with your comment!

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    7. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Heasley

      And how would you have handled it David ? What are you sensitive to, have a thin skin for / have a low tolerance to ? A 'mate' once told me a 'joke' about the down side of being a paedophile is having to be in bed by 7pm. I burred up at that in a nano-second ...

      There are mongrels in security but most are not thugs.

      So don't go judging other peoples' sensibilities on your lack of ...are you able to comprehend that?

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    8. David Heasley

      Contracts manager

      In reply to Greg North

      Other media reports have stated that "police spoke to her" after the goons (security) took her to them.
      My point was it is against the law to question or interview a minor without a parent or guardian present (except in certain very special circumstances), and from what I could see there wasn't. The vision I saw had an unaccompanied child being marched off. There were so manyt better ways that could have been handled (if indeed it needed to be).

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    9. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      First off Peter, read what I wrote to David Heasley ... second, what has the Middle East got to do with AFL is my specific question.

      'your opinion' on what people should or shouldn't take umbrage isn't the decider; like my eldest says 'opinions are like arseholes, everyone's got one and they're mostly full of ..."

      as to your observation that I grow a pair; females have a habit of drawing other subject matter into a debate, so if the hat fits, wear it miss ...

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    10. David Heasley

      Contracts manager

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Apologies I did not mean to insult players of her calibre.
      Jeez, when I played footy at local / school level, a long time ago, if the greek, turkish, italian, aboriginal or lebanese players didn't call you a #$% whitey, skip or worse (at least ten times) you felt unloved!
      We were 15-16, and just shrugged it off. The professional prima donnas today aren't a patch on the old days!

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    11. David Heasley

      Contracts manager

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      I have sensibilties... I'm just not a sook. I don't put sledging and paedophiles in the same basket by the way.
      The latter should be shot.
      My comment was based on my observations of the idiots in uniform I have observed at these grounds who are just power hungry ignorant "would be coppers". Not all admittedly, but a fair percentage.
      By the way. I have noticed that in the abscence of reasoned argument you retort to playing the man not the ball. And guess what? I couldn't care less.

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    12. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to David Heasley

      David, don't you mean "formally interview" rather than "spoke to" or "took a name". It was a political correctness zealot's paradise if Police could not speak to a child without a parent being present.

      Constable plod: "I think that boy is lost sarge, is lost, how do we work out who his parents are to accompany us while we ask him?

      What about a kid that kills his mother and father so he could to go to the orphans picnic. That would cause quite a dilemma for the Police I reckon.

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    13. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Heasley

      yeh, that's why you didn't reply ... (you couldn't care less)

      Look, I bet you are a sook in some things, just like every other bloke on here (me inclusive); be it a daughter, son, grand-child, a pet, whatever ... I bet if I niggled your soft spot, you'd want to drop me ... but what can a 6' 4" bloke do to a 4 foot something female child ... you can't/won't inflict that pain you could on a bloke and subsequently take the 'hit' ... that - to me - is indicative of sensibility.

      (remember the American basket-baller who spat on a fan, the spit falling short of the protagonist?)

      didn't you - just for a moment - reflect on your suggestion I'm playing the man not the ball and the comparative of the young girl doing exactly that ?

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    14. David Heasley

      Contracts manager

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Ok, let me be more specific. The news reports said that the security handed what we now now to be a child over to police. She was spoken to / interviewed (reports vary) about the alleged racial vilification, then let go without any further action.
      This infers a formal interview and as such she should have been accompanied by a parent or guardian. If not, it was illegal. Now, we don't know (and I've been careful to say this) what happened exactly, so this is supposition.
      Now, just to make it clear. Police "talking to" a kid on the street is totally acceptable, and legal. As soon as it becomes "formal" there are rules.
      By the way, you don't see the irony in raising the political correctness straw man????

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    15. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education at Education

      In reply to David Heasley

      You are so right, David. Those days we tolerated much; the abuse of minors by the Church, the cruel corporal punishments meted out to children in schools, the massacre of Tasmanian Aboriginals, the abuse of workers by some employers, the persecution of our early Aussie Jews to the point that they had to change their names, the name calling, the prejudice and cruel taunting and abuse of gays, and let's not forget the physical and verbal abuse of children (esp boys) by parents under the guise of discipline, etc. All that made us tuff, strong and resilient. All these stuff of apologies to the Forgotten Australians, Reconciliation, Human Rights, etc are just so unnecessary. We are Aussies; we are tuff and don’t need to be polite, civil, caring or well mannered. Let’s accept our early history and remain true to that; any attempt to embrace a finer culture is being woozy. Let's keep shrugging off ugly stuff; that will continue to make us really tuff. Jeez, you are my hero, David.

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    16. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to David Heasley

      David: As I remember hairy ape and baboon were tossed around quite casually when i was at school and it had nothing to do with race!

      things were only beginning to heat up when the call was: 'Your mother is - - - pretty much depended upon the imagination of the caller!

      All that was looked for was something that got a reaction. Of course we all copped a few hidings when we couldn't run fast enough to escape the wrath of those insulted.

      'We' were the smallest of those involved, and not the most innocent!

      I learned to run, and I learned to fight. It was probably worth it.

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  11. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Would we, and Adam Goodes, have felt any different if she had have said, "I didn't mean you Adam, I met the umpire!"?

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    1. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      depends on whether the umpire is black or not doesn't it ? what's your next strategy and are you prepared to put your money where your mouth is?

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I suppose Terry, responses from " we " could have been Oh yeah, for sure and I imagine Adam Goodes would have said Oh, OK, that's fine darling! ( and you believe in fairies too do you? )

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    3. David Paton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      Why does it depend on whether the umpire is black? Are you suggesting that its acceptable to call white red or green people apes but not black people?

      Surely racism is about treating all people equally and not differentiating based on race?

      Perhaps the girl called him an ape because she thinks he looks like an ape. Is. http://www.footballfancast.com/premiership/top-ten-football-lookalikes/attachment/portsmouths-new-technical-director-abraham-grant-watches-the-game-2 Racist?

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    4. Daniel Boon

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Paton

      David ... its a rhetorical question (means a statement that is formulated as a question but that is not supposed to be answered) ...

      And racism is usually defined as views, practices and actions reflecting the belief that humanity is divided into distinct biological groups ... not as you suggest, people (treated equally) ...

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    5. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education at Education

      In reply to Daniel Boon

      I am with you David. What the hell has the Middle east got to do with this girl's prejudice and her lack of good manners is beyond me. Of late I have come to the conclusion that truth (at least these days) is relative; it varies according to our agenda. In this light, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that racism is in our genes that came to be from our early history. Allow me to explain (based on my empirical observations of over 40 years); racism is a generational disease, passing from…

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  12. john davies
    john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired engineer

    I think Amelia's article is good. I think the issue was handled well by Goodes and the officials involved.
    I am more concerned about some of the comments on the article. I think some of those who commented should go back and read what they said. Then think about it. Work it out!

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  13. Brendan Lee

    logged in via LinkedIn

    I think what is of particular interest, and warrants analysis, is the different reactions between similar incidents 20 years apart.

    The language used in Friday night’s incident was much more subdued than the vitriole spewing forth from the stands of Victoria Park in Nicky Winmar's direction 20 years ago, yet the 'outrage factor' and intensity of publicity in response has been of a similar magnitude.

    There are some interesting similarities and differences between the reactions from each of the stakeholders in these incidents - society, the AFL, the club, the subject of the racial vilification, the perpetrator and the media.

    While both incidents received widespread condemnation, this time round the affected parties have dealt with the issue in a much more calm and constructive way. Have we moved from an era of confrontation to cooperation about stamping out racial vilification? Will this be more effective in stamping out racial vilification from society?

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  14. Philip Dowling

    IT teacher

    Deakin University? Does it rank above Hobart University?
    Does a Research fellow for citizenship and globalization in Warrnambool trump annual memberships of the Rooty Hill RSL and the Blacktown Workers club?
    Recent interview based techniques would suggest that Deakin University has made significant progress beyond HSC levels of NSW students... at least those studying CAFS.
    While I would not express any problem with Adam Goodes being awarded a VC for his courage in confronting a 13 yo girl, nor with him being made Australian of the Year for his contribution to alternative parenting techniques for fear of being branded racist, I have a few issues with the exceptionalism afforded both AFL and aboriginals in one of Australia's smaller states.

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  15. Philip Dowling

    IT teacher

    One can always look on the bright side. At least on this occasion, the Victorian Police didn't pull out their guns and kill somebody on the orders of drug dealers, superior officers, or even AFL players.

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    1. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      Sexual interference with an unaccompanied minor during a police interview has not been ruled out.

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  16. Raine S Ferdinands

    Education at Education

    And now we have Eddie Mcquire. Well, I never thought much of his intellect anyway. Poor Eddie has just revealed both his insincerity and lack of taste. He is after all Collingwood! A teenage girl is one thing, but a grown man... yaks; his expressed views are crass, desperate and shallow. Who can now believe him? He is simply running scared because he has lots to lose via his TV & Collingwood representation. What a laugh.

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  17. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    To suggest Eddie Maguire is racist is ridiculous. Clearly what he was suggesting was witty and that given the unwanted publicity the unfortunate "Ape' comment received, that now it has Australia wide coverage and roundly condemned as it should have been, why not enable Adam Goodes now make light of it and use it to publicise the movie and perhaps denote his fee to a worth cause. We all know what happened was wrong but it is hardly the end of the world and we move on.. It might help the 13 year old girl get over it if moves into the range of humour. Adam Goodes is my favourite footballer and Eddie Macguire an outstanding Melbournian. I barrack for the Saints. Our players seem to be always being wrongly accused of some silly sex matter, and even called rapists. We laugh and move on! This is the first season it hasn't happened. If Adam Goodes goes into another bout of sorrow over this he needs help. Sydney Swans needs to stop milking it.

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    1. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      'If Adam Goodes goes into another bout of sorrow over this he needs help'

      Does he ever! In the pain and problems facing people across the world, in the reality of living, Maguire's comment simply doesn't rate.

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    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      It rates 10 out of 10 for sheer stupidity.

      It's astonishing that for a man of his stature in the community that he make such a comment, particularly given the efforts he went to in ameliorating the previous "ape" issue.

      I notice Luke Darcy was very mild in his distancing himself from the comment - he is almost as culpable by default.

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  18. Amelia Johns

    Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation. at Deakin University

    Shows how long a few days in football is... It is simply staggering that after apologising to Adam Goodes for a racial slur made against him last Friday night and offering counselling to the young girl responsible, Mcguire has made the same slur against Goodes in a public forum days later. This has swiftly undermined his role as president of the Collingwood FC, with Harry O'Brien expressing his disappointment in the club president and then being forced to undergo a humiliating discussion with Eddie…

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Amelia Johns

      Amelia, Eddy Maguire is an outstanding Melbournian and the hardest working man in the City. He is entitled to put his foot into his mouth like the rest of us, but he instantly apologised when he reflected on the way it sounded. That is enough for me. He is constantly speaking in the public eye and is a very funny and good spirited man.

      For him to be forced to resign his Collingwood Presidency over a slip would be a tragedy. They guy has dragged Collingwood up by the boots straps single handedly for over a decade and been red hot on clamping down on racism.

      It was obvious he was just thinking aloud of the humour of Adam Goodes considering turning the unfortunate "Ape" remark into a movie promotion.

      Listening to 70 year old professional mourner Professor Mick Dodson on the ABC this morning with John Fain, going on and on and on, he makes all of us feel depressed. At 32 Adam Goodes is in dire strife if he follows Dodson' lead.

      Give Eddy a break for goodness sake.

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    2. Amelia Johns

      Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation. at Deakin University

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, no-one is 'entitled' to make racist comments, even when it is a 'slip of the tongue'. Just because someone has achieved a lot in their life does not 'entitle' them to be free with words that offend.

      On the other hand, for an individual or a group that has been subjected daily to words that have singled them out, hurt and offended them on the basis of race or ethnicity, I do think that they should be entitled to say that it is not good enough and that we have to do better. I don't think Eddie should step down as President but I think he needs to be a part of the solution, and if he is passing his comments off as a 'slip of the tongue' then that is not sending the right message. He was tired. A football fan has 'had too much to drink'. There are a lot of excuses aren't there?

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    3. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Amelia Johns

      Amelia, you imply what Eddy said was intentionally racist. I say you are arguing from a wrong premise. Eddy is not at all racist and your implication that he is, is indeed wrong and actually worse than his slip of the tongue.

      It was clear to me he thought out loud for a moment on his early morning show, that perhaps Adam could make some fun out of it all now by using the unfortunate nationally publicized comment of the weekend to promote the new movie Godzilla. It would not have detract from the point Adam made and perhaps make us all fell better that he is over it. For the AFL to say Eddy needs to do a course in racism awareness show how over the top the thing has become.

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