Former Sydney Swans player, anti-racism campaigner and 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney on September 30. The Adnyamathanha and Narungga man was named a Doctor of Health Sciences (honoris causa) for his work in supporting the Indigenous community, his charity work, his community leadership and his sporting exploits.
The year-long vilification of Aboriginal AFL star Adam Goodes should not be trivialised and dismissed as simply ignorance or mob mentality. This is a valuable opportunity to reflect on race relations in Australia and the ways racism is perpetuated.
After taking a brief break in the face of sustained booing that dogged him whenever he took to the field, the Sydney Swans star returned to the game for the Swans August 8 win over Geelong. The Geelong crowd warmly welcomed Goodes in a public demonstration of all that is humane and open-hearted in the Australian public.
There has been a wave of support for famous Sydney Swans footballer Adam Goodes in the face of the racist torrent that has been directed at him.
At the same time as people are expressing their solidarity with Goodes, right-wing commentators such as Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine and Alan Jones are doing their best to stoke the racism, by denying that Goodes has been subjected to racist booing.
Australia, the “sporting nation”, has a problem. The idea of Australia as the “fair-go” country must be laid to rest as a myth.
Australia is a racist nation that has shown that it will never tolerate an Aboriginal person “getting above themselves”. The Adam Goodes saga — in which the Sydney Swans superstar has faced repeated booing from AFL crowds ever since he performed a traditional Indigenous war dance to celebrate a goal during the AFL's Indigenous round in May — has laid bare the racism for all to see.
Racism is alive and well in Australia.
You would think that such a statement would be relatively uncontroversial. But the shit-storm surrounding AFL footballer Adam Goodes’ decision to call out racism on the sporting field reveals how desperate a section of the establishment is to avoid any scrutiny about where racism comes from and how it is perpetuated.
They want to cling to the fiction that Goodes brought the whole controversy onto himself by “playing the victim”.