Following fan reports of a spectator hurling disgusting racial abuse at this past weekend’s clash against the Sydney Swans – in which the Swans routed an insipid Bombers outfit by 50 points – the Essendon Football Club has announced the cancellation of the membership of the offending fan. The incident was confirmed to have been directed at Swans legend Adam Goodes, who was famously the subject of similar taunts from a teenage Collingwood Magpies fan last year.
Other fans at Etihad Stadium reported the racist to stadium officials, which resulted in Victoria Police ejecting the man from the game. Following an investigation, the Bombers cancelled the man’s membership, and will not consider any reapplication until he has completed a racial vilification education program.
The club said in a statement, “As a Club, we do not accept appalling behaviour of this nature – No matter your race, religion or gender, football is a game of inclusion. It is extremely disappointing incidents of this nature are still occurring. “I commend our supporters for taking a stand and having the courage to report this matter to the appropriate authorities. If you’re going to behave in this manner we don’t want you attending our games.“
Goodes, for his part, responded, “While it is disappointing that these incidents still arise, there is a positive to come out of this, and that is the willingness of people in the crowd, regardless of the colours of their scarf and jumper, to draw a line in the sand and say that this is not acceptable. While there still work to be done, to have Essendon members alert stadium security to the incident is a great indication that people in the football community will not tolerate racial vilification.“
It is of the utmost importance that behaviour of this nature is not tolerated in any way, shape or form, regardless of location. And whilst it’s extremely sad that incidents continue to arise, the response of fans to swiftly report is very heartening, and should serve as encouragement for others to follow suit in the event of things such as this happening again.
There is no room for racism in football. There is no room for racism anywhere.
Photo: Chris Hyde via Getty Images.