Fans of Glasgow's Celtic FC. All 80 clubs competing in Europe's two most prestigious football competitions — the UEFA Champions League and Europa League — will donate €1 from tickets sold for their opening game towards refugees.
Matildas players earn only $21,000 a year — below the minimum wage. The simmering industrial dispute between the nation's football (soccer) players and the Football Federation Australia (FFA) over pay and the right to collectively bargain has now boiled over with the national women's team, the Matildas, pulling out of a planned tour of the US.
The focus of discussion about women in sport — specifically the discrimination they face, the lack of support and promotion, the disinterest from the media and the huge pay differences between female and male athletes — has overwhelmingly been on the elite or national level.
LeBron James. If there was ever a moment that signalled how little Black lives mattered to people in power in the US, it was in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf of Mexico — especially devastating the city of New Orleans — 10 years ago. This fact was called out in real time by New Orleans residents, racial-justice activists around the country, and Kanye West's off-script and utterly true comments that “George Bush doesn't care about Black people”.
On the weekend that marked the one year anniversary of the police killing of Michael Brown, another disturbingly similar case made the social media rounds: another unarmed young Black man was shot dead, on August 7, another police officer on administrative leave holding the smoking gun, another rush to convict the dead.
With industrial disputes breaking out on wharves and warehouses around the country, conflict is also brewing between those who kick the roundball on the nation's football (soccer) pitches and those who administer the game. Football Federation Australia (FFA) is locked in a long-running dispute with players — represented by their union, the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) — over a new collective bargaining agreement. The PFA is seeking a better pay deal for the national men's team (Socceroos) and national women's team (Matildas), as well as an A-League salary cap and wage rise.
The St Louis Rams players braved even greater hostility by entering with their hands raised in support of the Ferguson protesters and their “hands up, don't shoot” slogan. The police killing last August of unarmed 18-year-old Black man Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent protests have sparked a new Black freedom struggle and forever changed this country.
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.
“What we do matters.” “We are many, they are few.” “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” These phrases are what people trying to effect change often say quietly to avoid slouching into despair. Today, they are what crews of Bostonians are singing to one another over rowdy, joyous toasts, confident that their actions just beat back the most powerful plutocrats in town.
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.