THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON MAY 30, 2015
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