“To the football community,How long must we put up with this?Racial vilification has been a part of our game for too long.
That both Eddie and Patrick were abused because of the colour of their skin is absolutely unacceptable and we, as the AFL Players’ Indigenous Advisory Board, have had enough.These are more than just words and the impact these slurs have on the player, their family, their children and their community is profound.
Despite the amazing work done in the community by our brothers and sisters, they continue to experience this disgraceful treatment.There’s no room in our game for any form of vilification, whether it’s based on race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Anyone who thinks that this is an acceptable way to act is no football fan.Unless the industry, and society for that matter, can show greater respect for diversity then we risk losing the next Adam Goodes, Andrew McLeod, Buddy Franklin or Cyril Rioli.We want football fans to barrack for their club with passion, but shouting abuse at an opposition player and targeting their race needs to stop.
Keep this in mind when you watch the football this weekend and help us stop racism.Thanks in advance,Shaun Burgoyne (Chair), Neville Jetta (Deputy Chair), Chad Wingard, Danyle Pearce, Allen Christensen, Jarrod Pickett, Michael Johnson, Shane Edwards.”
Meanwhile the AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has made the league’s stance on the issue extremely clear: If you’re not on board with this message, do not come to AFL games.
“My message is to all football supporters to continue calling out bad behaviour, and for the pockets that are not onboard, don’t come to our games because we are welcoming of everyone.”“Racism wounds people, it hurts communities, and racism has no place in our game.”“We’ve come a long way on-field and we’ve come a long way off-field. But there are still isolated instances and we are going to keep tackling them, we’re going to keep calling them out.”
Round 4 of the 2017 AFL season kicks off Thursday night when the winless (!!!) Sydney Swans take on the West Coast Eagles in Perth.