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Racism rears its ugly head

Less than a month ago we witnessed an incredible moment as our very own Adam Goodes was crowned Australian of the Year. A man who has given so much to the community and been a leader on and off the field, was faced with a horrible situation and managed to turn a racial slur into a learning experience and a reminder for our nation that racism still exists within our society.

Yet sadly in Friday night’s game we were again faced with a similar situation as a man was evicted from Aurora Stadium in Launceston after racially abusing Majak Daw.

This disgraceful behaviour is made even more disturbing considering this is not the first time Majak has had to endure an incident of this nature in his short career, having been the victim of racial abuse in 2011 while playing for Werribee.

Since the incident we have spoken with Majak, as well as Hawthorn and North Melbourne and commend them on their handling of the situation. We are also heartened that the fans seated around the man who vilified Majak alerted authorities immediately and the man was escorted from the stadium within minutes, however this is a small positive in what was an ugly blight on our game and society.

Racism has no place in our society, and definitely no place in our game.

Buying a ticket to the footy does not grant anyone permission to abuse another person. Whether it be comments about race, sexuality, religion or anything deemed offensive by the target, it has no place in our game.

There’s a big difference between barracking hard for your team and hurling racist abuse from over the fence. This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Players from the game have taken to Twitter to voice their support with the likes of Cyril Rioli, Adam Goodes and Eric Wallace sharing their views and we are proud that our playing group are taking the lead in stamping this behaviour out.

Our great game is made up of people from varying cultural backgrounds and we should be celebrating this diversity and keeping our great game free of prejudice for all to enjoy.

While we have come so far from the landmark moment when Nicky Winmar raised his jumper and pointed to show his skin, we still have a long way to go.

Community leaders like Goodes and Daw continue to shine a light on this ugly side of our community, and as a society we must support them and continue to show no tolerance for this kind of behaviour.

We will continue to provide Majak with the support required and hope he never has to endure this kind of behaviour again.

For further information on this issue visit the Racism. It Stops with Me website that provides you with an understanding of what you can do to stop racism, wherever it happens. I also encourage you to view the below video from VicHealth that shows the important role everyone plays in helping to prevent racism and intolerance.