Joint Statement on racism directed at Adam Goodes

Blogs, Indigenous Australia article written on the 04 Aug 2015

“Australia must and can be better than this”

Following the weekend’s events when prominent Aboriginal AFL player and former Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes was booed at every turn during the Swans v West Coast Eagles AFL match.

Today in advance of the weekend round of AFL, 150 organisations join together to call for renewed efforts to stamp out racism in sport and everyday life. For too long, we have witnessed the poor treatment of Sydney Swans star and dual Brownlow medallist Adam Goodes at the hands of fans during AFL matches. A proud Ambassador of the “Racism. It Stops with Me” Campaign, Goodes is a strong advocate for standing up against racism and for issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The booing, which has snowballed out of control this year since Goodes proudly displayed his culture during the AFL Indigenous Round, appears to be in large part racially motivated. Adam Goodes is an outstanding Australian and should be commended for displaying a culture all Australians should celebrate and be proud of, and for taking a courageous stance against racism. The behaviour of the crowd that booed him is absolutely unacceptable and must stop. To dismiss claims of racism as just banter is to use football as a shield for prejudice. Legitimate barracking for one’s team is a tradition that has been alive as long as the game itself but, when such behaviour coincides with cultural displays and Goodes’ efforts to stop racism, it is clear that a line has been crossed to racial abuse. To suggest that this kind of behaviour does not have an effect is to deny the evidence about the known health impacts of racism. These are not diminished simply because the person being subjected to racial abuse is an elite athlete. It is deeply disturbing that this kind of racism may influence whether a player decides to take the field for one match or is forced out of the game for good. If this isn’t stamped out, then we must ask what message this sends to future generations of Australians about the forms of behaviour that we find acceptable in this country. And what message does it send to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about their culture, and what they can expect should they want to excel in sport or other fields. It is a great stain on our nation that the experience of Adam Goodes is the lived experience of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and there is ample evidence that demonstrates the negative impact on mental and physical health, as well as life opportunities. Racism has no place in Australian sport or our society at large. We commend the actions that have been taken inside and out of the AFL, but call on all sports and sporting clubs to develop coherent and far reaching strategies in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people to stamp out racism in sport. As a starting point, codes and clubs should encourage members and supporters to join the ‘Racism: It Stops with Me’ campaign. Australia must and can be better than this.
Join the ‘Racism: It Stops with Me’ campaign. Join
For more information or interviews, contact: Mahala Strohfeldt, Media Manager, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples: 0457 877 408 Angela Dorizas, Australian Human Rights Commission: 0430 366529
This statement is supported by the following organisations:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda Australian Human Rights Commission Aboriginal Disability Network NSW Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of New South Wales Advocacy Tasmania Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation All Together Now Amnesty International ANECSYS ANTaR Arab Council Australia Arnold Bloch Leibler Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Australian College of Midwives Australian Council of Social Services Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Australian Football League Players Association Australian Hellenic Council Australian Human Rights Centre, UNSW. Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association Australian Indigenous Psychologist Association (AIPA) Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (IATSIS) Australian Lawyers for Human Rights Australian Medical Association (AMA) Australian Physiotherapy Association Australian Student & Novice Nurse Association B’nai Brith Anti-Defamation Commission Bisexual Alliance Victoria Bond University Catholic Education South Australia Centacare South West NSW Centre for Multicultural Youth Chinese Australian Forum (CAF) Coleman Rail Commission for Equal Opportunity South Australia Commissioner for Children and Young People Victoria Commonwealth Ombudsman Communication Rights Australia Confederation of Australian Motor Sport Corrs Chambers Westgarth Craig Edmonds Consulting Services CRANAplus Cricket Australia Deaths in Custody Watch Committee Inc WA Disability Discrimination Legal Services Diversity Council of Australia Eastern Community Legal Centre Edith Cowan University Executive Council of Australian Jewry Family Worker Training and Development Programme Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) Federation University First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre Flinders University Football Federation Australia (FFA) Goldfields Land and Sea Council Healing Foundation Human Rights Council of Australia Human Rights Law Centre Indigenous Allied Health Australia Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS Justice Connect Know the Game KPMG Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation Lendlease Liberty Victoria Marrickville Council Melbourne High School Menzies School of Health Research Mildura Rural City Council Misschu Muru Marri, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Australia Naracoorte Lucindale Council National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Health Worker Association
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (NACCHO) National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Association National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Physiotherapists National Association of Community Legal Centres National Australia Bank National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples National Native Title Council National Rugby League (NRL) Netball Australia – Julia Symons Northside Community Service Association NSW Aboriginal Land Council NSW Jewish Board of Deputies OCTEC Office of the Lord Mayor, City of Sydney Oxfam Australia People with Disability Australia Incorporated Play by the Rules Podmore Foundation Professor Tom Calma AO – founding Chair of the Close the Gap Campaign Public Health Association of Australia Public Transport Ombudsman VIC QANTAS Queensland Anti Discrimination Commission Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services (QAIL) Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane – Australian Human Rights Commission Randwick City Council Recognise Reconciliation Australia Reconciliation South Australia Red Dust Role Models Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre Refugee Council of Australia Richmond Football Club Save the Children SBS SCALES Community Legal Centre Scanlon Foundation Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Settlement Services International Shire of Katanning Sisters Inside Skilled Migrant Professionals So Change Inc Softball Australia St Vincent de Paul Society Table Tennis Australia TCL Drilling Australia The Armenian National Committee of Australia The Bridge of Hope Foundation Inc The Castan Centre – Monash University The Challenging Racism Project, University of Western Sydney The Chinese Australian Services Society Ltd (CASS Group) The Construction Training Centre Qld The Fred Hollows Foundation The Lowitja Institute The National Welfare Rights Network The Passion of Purpose Group The Pharmacy Guild of Australia Transgender Victoria Twitter Australia Unions NSW Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress Uniting Church In Australia University of South Australia – Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Victorian College of the Arts Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Walpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation Welcoming Intercultural Neighbours Whyndam Community and Education Centre Wilin Centre Wirrpanda Foundation Women in Prison Advocacy Network (WIPAN) Women’s Legal Services NSW Yarraville Community Centre YWCA