'Goodes leading way for his brothers tomorrow'

'Goodes leading way for his brothers tomorrow'

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Adam Goodes’s celebration after his goal against Carlton on Friday night has been supported by some and criticised by others.

After the game, Goodesy explained that it was “inspired from the Under-16 Boomerang kids who taught us a bit of a war cry so it was a little tribute to those guys.”

The war cry has evolved in recent years due to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players wanting to create something symbolic of their culture to perform before Indigenous All Star games.

The fact that not many would’ve understood or recognised that it was a variation of that war cry speaks for itself.

“I hope Goodesy continues to challenge our thinking and inspires everyone to have a greater awareness, respect and understanding of our country’s rich indigenous culture.” – Ian prendergast

If it was a Maori player who performed his take on the Haka it would’ve been more familiar, and probably celebrated universally.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the oldest living culture in the world. Is this something to truly celebrate? Or is it on the condition that we exercise restraint and don’t go over the top? After all, you don’t want to be considered a “flog” and expose yourself to attacks on social media.

Goodesy also said after the game: “It’s Indigenous Round and I’m proud to be Aboriginal, so I’m representing.” Since I’ve known him from our Under-18 Vic Country days, he’s always been representing.

Those people who single out the night he pointed to racism in the form of a 13-year-old girl in the crowd at the MCG, fail to understand the role Goodesy has played in the community and on both the AFL Players’ Association Board and as Chair of the Indigenous Advisory Board.  He’s always been an inspirational leader in the moment.

Now I’m seeing Goodesy yet again criticised for expressing himself and celebrating his Aboriginality during Indigenous Round. I understand the tall poppy syndrome that plays a part here. And that people are critical because they think being too overt actually hurts the cause. But I still wish more would celebrate Goodesy for championing the rights of the indigenous people who have been oppressed in this country throughout history. Even if you do think he prances around and plays for the odd free kick at times!

Goodesy is a dual Brownlow Medallist and an Australian of the Year. What he is achieving far outweighs the reasons people are purporting to boo and criticise him. When was the last time you had the courage to step out of your comfort zone like he has?

Throughout our sorry history with respect to indigenous rights, the pivotal moments have always involved Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people making the play. Unfortunately it seems to take moments like this to achieve change. Nicky Winmar was criticised by some of his own teammates and supporters on that (in)famous day.

I hope Goodesy continues to challenge our thinking and inspires everyone to have a greater awareness, respect and understanding of our country’s rich indigenous culture.

Especially our indigenous players who add so much to this great game, led by the Indigenous Advisory Board which runs with the mantra “Leaders of today for our brothers tomorrow”.

Goodesy is making the play and leading the way for his brothers tomorrow. May he walk proud with his head held high.

Ian Prendergast is the AFL Players’ General Manager of Player Relations 

What do you think?

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  • I don't boo anyone at the footy but I have disliked some players over the years. Tony Liberatore for example, in the latter stages of his career - a Brownlow medallist reduced to a pinching spiteful tagger. He was frequently booed then and deservedly so. Fans don't like Adam Goodes for a variety of reasons, none of which have to do with the colour of his skin. He has politicised what to most of us is a great sport we love. He is divisive and instead of one people he seeks to divide and invoke ill feeling. Not a wonderful legacy for football and reprehensible for a so called Australian of the year. Australia is a melting pot of many cultures and we are all the better for it. By and large we all get on well. Don't start emphasising differences and creating hatred.

  • I think the Indigenous players have to remain strongly defiant and together on this issue. I want them to be able to come out and have the confidence if they, or any other team mate, whether Aboriginal, Greek or any nationality is vilified. The criticism of Goodes this week may not be racially intended, or many elements of it probably are, and it may be a form of bullying. But to me, it's oppression, it is like the bully in the schoolyard saying, "I dare you to have a go", and I mean, complaining in the future. It is intimidation with brute force and I ask that you boys stick together and not let what has happened to Adam this week put you off if you have a legitimate complaint, because that is what some members of society are banking on, that you will not have the guts after this to whinge. Stand strong and together.

  • i believe most people booing are Swans opposition supporters, and they do it as part of the game. Nothing personal, nothing racial, just supporting your team and "boo" the opposition. 50 years ago I did the same thing, especially when my teamlayed Collingwood! As much as I booed Murray Wiedaman, their captain, I could not help but admire him and his play. He was bloody good!