In a season that’s already been marred by incredibly racist behaviour from fans both on and offline, the AFL‘s fraternity of Indigenous players have enacted a plan to publicly name and shame online trolls in a bid to end harassment of players and eradicate racism from the game.

Indigenous leader and footy legend Des Headland revealed that the league’s Indigenous players formed the plan at a summit prior to the season, before receiving the full backing from the AFL Players’ Association.

Since then, numerous players have taken to social media with screenshots of racist commenting from fans, with usernames and identities uncensored in a bid to name and shame those who, for lack of a better term, talk shit.

Yesterday, the West Coast Eagles issued a public plea to fans to help stand against racist behaviour from fans, standing behind the club’s Indigenous leaders as well as club Indigenous liaison officer Brian Narkle and development coach Chance Bateman in a stirring video call-out that quickly captured the attention of the football world.

That sentiment was echoed by multiple AFL clubs who expressed their public support for the Eagles’ push on social media.

Headland spoke to the Herald Sun after the Name & Shame initiative was publicly revealed, asserting racist behaviour and commenting has absolutely no place in football, and that it was time people were made to face the consequences of their own words.

It’s about leadership, see something, say something. It’s time we stamp out this crap and what better way to name and shame and see who it is.

You want to make these comments behind the keyboard, let’s see how strong you are when you have to face the community.

The players’ announcement follows on from the latest bout of racist commenting, in which a Richmond fan by the name of Ash Jones racially vilified Eagles player Liam Ryan on social media.

While Jones has since issued a formal apology, Richmond officials saw fit to immediately suspend his membership for two years.

Jones will have to undertake a cultural awareness and education program in order for the suspension to be lifted in 2021.

Source: Herald Sun
Image: Getty Images / Adam Trafford