Adelaide FC forward Eddie Betts has released a video statement on the racially-motivated incident that occurred at the Adelaide v Port Adelaide Showdown #41 that happened over the weekend.
ICYMI, a woman wearing a Port scarf and sitting in the members area gave the finger, threw a banana, and yelled ‘monkey’ at Betts, who is Aboriginal.
Port released a statement quicksmart which denounced the “racially motivated” actions of the woman, who has now been named as Alexandra Pelosi, and stripped her of her club membership indefinitely.
(Since, Pelosi has given a formal public apology, and agreed to take part in the Indigenous Awareness program that Port offered her.)
Betts has now finally given a personal statement, via the Adelaide website.
In the statement, he tells of how that moment was from his perspective:
“I didn’t even realise at the time. I watched the footage back and saw everything unfold.
“It’s a little bit disappointing that someone is trying to aim at you while you’re playing on the field. We go out there to play footy and to entertain. We don’t want to be fearing for (our safety) and dodging stuff that comes onto the field.
I think I can speak for every AFL player in saying, period, you shouldn’t throw anything on the field.”
Betts speaks about how racism in sport makes him feel, and that he hopes people speak to their children about this to stop these kinds of abusive social structures being passed down through generations.
“It’s sad that racism still exists in our game. It was my 250th game and something that we’re meant to celebrate …
All we have to do is just educate (people). Port Adelaide have offered, all their Indigenous players, for this lady to go and speak to them, which is fantastic.
I’m part of the new AFL campaign against racism and our slogan is, ‘It Stops With Me’. Hopefully, people can talk to their kids about why the campaign is important and educate their families about racism. It’s never too late to learn.”
Betts only had positive words about the responses from both PAFC and AFC, plus all the support he’s received:
“It’s been overwhelming. I thought it would take a while for them to embrace me, but ever since I moved across here the Adelaide Crows supporters have been fantastic and so have the Port supporters.
I’d like to thank Port Adelaide for the way they handled the situation … and also the support I got from my teammates and staff at the Crows.
Hopefully, we can all learn something from this weekend.”
But Betts is keen to move on from the incident:
“[I need to] find a way to put it aside because we’ve got finals coming up, we’ve got West Coast on Friday night — so that’s probably one of the main things I’ve got to focus on now.”
To watch the full video, you can here: afc.com.au/news/2016-08-22/eddie-speaks-out-on-incident
Photo: James Elsby / Getty.