Coming off successive thrashings by Hawthorn and West Coast – and without Goodes, who is on indefinite leave after persistent vilification by opposing fans – Sydney powered their way to a 17.15 (117) to 9.11 (65) victory at the SCG on Saturday night.
Six years on and Richmond fans vent their displeasure at Goodes during the final round of the 2014 season by booing him at every opportunity after they thought he had staged for a free kick against Tigers fullback Alex Rance.
“What we’re talking about is a really complex issue that’s now sitting in the sports area and involves Adam, but I think it’s something that constantly is part of Australia, and disappointingly so”.
But he is a champion of a sport played in a country renowned for its tall poppy syndrome, and an Australian of the Year and community leader who is passionate and outspoken about his indigenous heritage.
A two-time Brownlow Medallist, two-time premiership player, Rising Star victor… few footballers have been more decorated than Goodes.
“He said they “even said sorry”, but I wonder if he even knows what that apology was for”.
Federal Indigenous Affairs minister Nigel Scullion also said: “It would be a blight on this nation if (Goodes) was to retire” as a result of the booing.
Indigenous former A-League player Travis Dodd says he wouldn’t be able to play alongside Griffin McMaster following the goalkeeper’s controversial tweets about AFL star Adam Goodes.
Senator Nova Peris said Goodes was a “proud Aboriginal man”.
“This government needs leadership when you get people like the Andrew Bolts of the world who say the stolen generation is a myth; that’s bull***t, it happened and it’s real“, Senator Peris said.
The last thing we want in Australia is anything that smacks of racism.
In addition, fellow hip-hop identity Urthboy, aka Tim Levinson, has been a constant source of support for Goodes on social media, actively calling out “spineless” apologists for those booing the player since late last week.
You can rationalise other reasons than racism for the Goodes booing if you insist, but all of these rationalisations of the behaviour must fade away when you consider the harm we are collectively doing to one person, and if he’s feeling vilified – well then it must stop.
While the issue continues to sharply divide national opinion, there was widespread support for Goodes around the AFL this weekend.
Whether the booing is racially motivated or not still remains a topic of contention.
He said he couldn’t tell fans how to behave but they had always decided what was the right and wrong way to behave both on and off the field.
“As such, I urge our supporters to understand the toll this is having, the message it is sending, and that it does not reflect well on our game”.
It started in 2013 when, during the AFL’s annual Indigenous round – which celebrates the vast contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players to the game – Goodes pointed out a girl in the crowd who had called him an “ape”. Umpires get booed every week.