Essendon Football Club has released a statement condemning the blatant racism that exists in AFL, after Carlton legend Eddie Betts shared a racist attack he’d received over the weekend from an alleged Dons supporter.
Yesterday, Betts took to Instagram to provide an example of the vile shit he continues to face as an Indigenous player. “If at any time anyone is wondering why we work so hard to bring attention to the importance of stamping out racism, this is it,” he captioned the post.
“If ever there was a time where our focus on this needs to continue more than ever, it’s now. We each have a responsibility to ourselves and each other. To continue to listen. To learn. To educate.”
The tweet was made by a user with the former handle @Brett_Dons.
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If at any time anyone is wondering why we work so hard to bring attention to the importance of stamping out racism, this is it. If ever there was a time where our focus on this needs to continue more than ever, it’s now. We each have a responsibility to ourselves and each other. To continue to listen. To learn. To educate. To ignore it is to be part of the problem, to call it out is to be part of the solution. #itstopswithme #bepartofthesolution
Following news that the perpetrator was likely a Dons supporter, Essendon released a statement in solidarity with both Betts and Carlton Football Club, condemning the “abhorrent racial vilification” and promising to revoke the guy’s membership, if he has one.
“Eddie Betts is a wonderful role model and a champion of our game, and has made an incredible contribution to the game of AFL both on and off the field,” the statement reads. “We acknowledge Eddie is a proud Wirangu Kokatha man. Today we stand in total unity with Eddie Betts, the Carlton Football Club and the AFL in the bid to stamp out racism in our game. It simply has to stop.”
“On behalf of the Essendon Football Club, we apologise to not only Eddie Betts, but the entire Indigenous community across our game, for this abhorrent racial vilification.”
“First week back and our Indigenous players are already being vilified. This post is abhorrent and disgusting and so sad,” said Paul Marsh, chief executive of the AFL Players’ Association, in response.
Essendon is now investigating the matter further, and has asked readers to come forward with any information in order to identify the culprit behind the racist post.Image: Getty Images / Michael Willson/AFL Photos / Stringer