I am calling BS on Adam Goodes and the politically correct and biased documentary making him out to be a victim of racism.
Special mention to Jupes who has already covered this topic brilliantly as I share most, if not all his main views but hopefully add a slightly different perspective at the margins.
With the outpouring of virtue signalling scorn from the hashtag pulpit condemning Australians as racist, calls from the Player’s Association for the documentary to be included in an already dumbed down, over-crowded progressive school curriculum, and the expectant AFL social justice finger waving response to come, I feel it my duty to stand with Jupes (a hashtag if ever there was one) in calling this out for what it is.
Before I get into the Goodes matter, I want to make a general point it is high time our sporting codes stopped playing identity politics and focussed instead on their core business of sport. Some things should be left alone from politics and sport is one of them.
Other than encouraging the benefits of healthy exercise, good sportsmanship, team spirit and respect for the umpires, I have zero tolerance for sporting organisations engaging in partisan political and social causes with all the associated dogma and propaganda.
I have had enough of political virtue signalling infecting every second round of AFL, which I suspect also infects the other codes, especially when I look at rugby and the hypocritical punishment of Israel Folau for voicing his religious faith as a private citizen.
The other night aboriginal footballers refused to sing the national anthem at a state of origin NRL match in political protest, presumably against colonisation, without which they would not be highly paid, emotionally spoiled man-children with a grievance.
The governing NRL body didn’t have a problem with this protest. Apparently offending mainstream Australia and trashing Australian history at their place of work didn’t contravene workplace diversity and inclusion clauses in their respective workplace agreements. Go figure.
Apologies for digressing, but seriously how dumb were these guys in trying to draw attention to not singing the national anthem that the majority of players don’t sing anyway, presumably out of embarrassment, but certainly not for political reasons. Had they not made their announced their protest in advance no-one would have noticed.
Why isn’t Peter Beatie applying the same employment standard to aboriginal protestors as he did to the religious preacher?
If anyone can explain how an employee using his workforce platform to agitate divisive, personal, political beliefs is fine, but an employee (or potential employee) expressing his religious beliefs as a private citizen, in his own time, on his own platform (i.e. church), is a sackable offence (RU) or obstacle to employment (NRL) I would love to know the difference.
All of which contextualises and brings me to the main subject of this rather long post about Adam Goodes and a new documentary about his tumultuous final years as a footballer during which he was perpetually booed by opposition fans everywhere.
To say the racist narrative is complete rubbish is an understatement that ignores the fact that Goodes played for 14 seasons prior to 2013 without ever being booed, and in that 14 years he was a celebrated player that won the Brownlow Medal twice, was a two time premiership player, was an All Australian on four occasions, and was voted the AFL rising star in his second year as an AFL footballer.
It also ignores the fact that amongst the most popular and celebrated footballers of 2013 many were indigenous, including his soon to to be teammate Buddy Franklin playing that year for Hawthorn, fellow Hawthorn legends Cyril Rioli and Shuan Burgoyne, Adelaide superstar Eddie Betts, Essendon and later Port Adelaide all Australian Patrick Ryder, and 2013 Port Adelaide all Australian star Chad Wingard to name a few.
To believe that Goodes was a victim of endemic racism directed at aboriginals is thus to engage in fantasy. This is not to say that Goodes has never been on the receiving end of a racist remark or that such a remark can’t be hurtful. But who hasn’t been at one time or another?
Which is to say that most of us have been on the receiving end of an insult for being fat or skinny, having a big nose or elephant ears, being a four eyes, being “unco” at sport, being gay or labeled gay, having a disability or deformity, being religious or not religious, or for being Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Kiwi, Pom or whatever. Indigenous Australians don’t have a monopoly on hurt feelings, being insulted, and offended.
The bottom line is that there are endless ways to slur and hurt someone if that is your want, and consequently there are endless ways to be insulted or offended if that is how you choose to respond. It would be nice if morons and bullies didn’t exist but they do. That doesn’t make Australia a racist nation.
Most of us accept that the world is not a perfect place. There will always be a small number of horrible people. It is a fact of life and something we learn how to cope with, building resilience and toughening our sensibilities such that we don’t let nasty people define who we are or how we live.
This is to say that mainstream Australians sensibly reject identity politics and contrary to the moral posturing of organisations like the HRC they sharply differentiate between isolated cases of individual idiots versus systemic and normalised racism and bigotry running through a particular community or society.
It is in this context that it takes a fair stretch of the imagination to consider Goodes a victim of endemic racism across Australian football fields. He didn’t have to sit at the back of the team bus and last I checked there were no racially segregated dressing rooms or bathrooms at the SCG or any other AFL football ground.
To the contrary Goodes, as mentioned above, was one of the most decorated players in AFL history and in 2013 one of the highest paid stars, not to mention also enjoying commercial sponsorships that most players could only dream about.
So why was Goodes booed in his final year and half as a player?
As Jupes pointed out, it all comes back to a fateful day on 24 May 2013, in which he made a very public stance against alleged racism, against a supporter of the Collingwood football club. Only there were two big problems with his very public stance.
One, the alleged “racist” was in fact a disadvantaged 13 year old girl who had no idea her “ape” comments were racist, and hence had even less idea what was happening to her, being as she was evicted from the ground, detained by police, and publicly shamed by Goodes as the “face” of Australian racism.
Two, it wreaked of opportunistic overreach by a player in the twilight of his career hoping to capitalise on identity politics for a post-football career rooted in indigenous activism, which he subsequently did becoming an indigenous ambassador for David Jones among other indigenous pursuits.
In my opinion, Goodes was judged by the football public as a bully and an opportunist and that is by and large why he was booed.
That he also petulantly refused to take any personal responsibility for the adverse public reaction he generated simply added grist to the mill. Here was a guy that from a position of power and privilege could dish it out to a disadvantaged 13 year girl but could’t hack the public blowback that followed.
I also believe Goodes was overwhelmingly viewed by the football public as a fake. Here was a player vehemently prosecuting anti-racism in football long after the racial battles had been fought and won by true indigenous heroes two decades earlier.
Goodes played AFL in an era in which racial sledging on the field, or by spectators off (barring the odd idiot) had already been stamped out thanks to the brave stances taken by indigenous players Michael Long and Nicky Winmar in the 1990’s.
These players genuinely suffered repeated and arguably systemic racial abuse during their playing careers and when they confronted the AFL and society at large it was genuinely courageous and was a heartfelt reproach to attitudes of the time.
In short, Long and Winmar challenged a racial (and other) sledging culture that was widely accepted in Australia as a legitimate tactic for gaining competitive advantage over an opponent. In the rough and tumble, zero sum nature of professional sport, community standards of decency and respect were allowed to be set aside on the sporting field.
While the acceptance of racial sledging was never formally endorsed, it was nonetheless given license by an apathetic “what goes on the field stays on the field” AFL mentality that subsequently was manifested in how umpires officiated, tribunals punished, clubs defended, media reported and ultimately how fans behaved.
Which is to say that when Long and Winmar took on the AFL to clean up its act they also challenged Australian society to clean up their act as well. To go against the prevailing culture and risk the ire of the football establishment, the media and the public takes genuine intestinal fortitude and a steadfast commitment to ones beliefs.
For these reasons Long and Winmar are celebrated not only by the fans of their respective clubs, but by the football community as a whole, as champion players and champion people that left an indelible mark on their sport, on and off the field, that changed racial attitudes and sporting culture right across the nation for the better.
Goodes comes up embarrassingly short in comparison being the woke agitator against racism when systemic casual racism in the AFL no longer existed.
Contrary to Long and Winmar he played out his career in the era of reverse racism where his aboriginal heritage was singled out for special celebration – the Indigenous Round – once a year. His activism wasn’t courage. It was political bandwagoning from a progressive safe space pandering to Left elites.
Goodes didn’t take on the power centres of the AFL – the Commission, the tribunal system, the clubs, the media, the fans – he instead played a crushing hand against a disadvantaged 13 year girl who didn’t even understand what she had said.
If Goodes had an ounce of self awareness and a fraction of an ounce of humility and compassion he would have apologised to the 13 year girl he shamelessly belittled, and softened his stance without undermining the message he wanted to convey. He should have learned from that experience.
Instead Goodes decided to double down on his truculent approach to identity politics in his capacity as Australian of the Year. This is what ultimately sealed Goodes fate.
Fact is, Goodes was an extremely poor choice for Australian of the Year, largely undeserving, consequently absent a platform, and being a somewhat reserved man hopelessly equiped to handle the media spotlight that came with the job.
In my opinion his award was pure politics, largely symbolic and a sop to indigenous Australians in a year in which activism for recognition in the constitution was running high.
Lets be honest. Goodes wasn’t exactly in career best form in the year leading up to his Australian of the Year award. He managed just 12 out of 25 possible matches, sidelined for the latter part of the year with injuries, poling just 4 Brownlow votes from two matches. Hardly a year to celebrate his prowess on the football field.
His only claim to fame that year was thus throwing the aforementioned 13 year old school girl under a bus as the Australian “face” of racism.
For that callous act he was rewarded by a clueless Abbot Government as being an “inspiration“, a “role model“, and lauded as an “eminent citizen”, “shaping our nation”, these being the platitudes that pass for selection criteria for Australian of the Year.
Incidentally, if there is one gap indigenous Australians don’t need to close it is Australian of the Year, being disproportionally high winners. Over the past 25 years, 20% of winners have been indigenous from a population making up less than 3% of the national total.
In the misguided pursuit of political optics the Abbott Government inadvertently threw Goodes to the wolves. He had no cause to run on other than a confected and hence divisive anti-racism platform, the events of which had already shown Goodes to be totally out of his depth.
To his rescue came the indigenous industry complex. He was already being cultivated as an asset prior to 2014, so it was only natural that faced with the daunting demands of being Australian of the Year he would look to the industry as a lifeline. He has publicly acknowledged this.
This was plainly evident in his cringe worthy acceptance speech that falsely denigrated Australia as a racist nation and perpetuated the myth that a multimillion dollar decorated sports star was a victim. At the 1 minute, 40 second mark he actually parroted the “racism stops with me” campaign slogan as it were a personal reflection.
Watching a grown man reduced to a puppet was embarrassing. It was also a sign of what was coming next. Two months and one film later later our Australian of the Year was a card carrying member of the postcolonial club of post modernists and neo-marxists who was no longer proud to be Australian.
Utopia has shown me how, over 225 years, the Europeans, and now the governments that run our country, have raped, killed and stolen from my people for their own benefit. The total injustices that have been played out since colonisation are absolutely shameful, and I now find it hard to say I am proud to be Australian.
For a man TAFE educated in Indigenous Studies for two years, his shock from watching a two hour propaganda film demonstrated either a critical lack of knowledge or a critical lack of critical thinking but either way an indictment on the TAFE sector. That said, lets be honest it would probably have been the same or worse had he gone to a university.
Now at this moment, being no longer proud to be an Australian, a man of integrity would have turned in his award. Not Adam Goodes.
Instead, he chose to besmirch it brow beating Australians as racists for not embracing his ignorant, false and biased historical narrative. Appalled that Australians were silent about a propaganda film, Goodes himself remained silent on the endemic violence and misogyny that is littered throughout indigenous history.
The radicalisation of Adam Goodes reached high farce in May of 2015 during the Sydney versus Carlton match at the SCG during the “Indigenous Round”.
As the name suggests the “Indigenous Round” is an annual event in the AFL fixture that recognises and celebrates the contributions of past and present indigenous players. All teams wear a special indigenous jumper designed by an indigenous artist. The centre circle is typically painted out as the indigenous flag. The games start with welcome to country ceremonies. It celebrates indigenous culture.
According to Adam Goodes this is the racist cesspit that he was forced to play in week in week out, and hence upon kicking his first goal in the second quarter of the match he ran 40 metres towards the boundary line to confront the Carlton cheer squad with an indigenous war dance culminating in the symbolic spearing of the opposition fans.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that inciting opposition fans with racial war cries is contrary to the inclusive spirit of the round. At half time the perplexed Carlton fans who were under the misguided impression they were attending a match promoting unity and tolerance found themselves deluged by police and security officials.
This single act of stupidity cost him whatever patience the public had left. From that round on the booing intensified and became entrenched. He had sealed his fate and sadly he played out his last season a broken man.
The tragedy of Adam Goodes is that he has never understood how toxic the game of identity politics really is. It is not about advancing tolerance or mutual respect, it is about fostering social division in the name of power. And because it is all about politically capitalising on division it is completely disinterested in solutions to the problems it agitates against.
I believe that deep down Goodes is a well meaning person who was unfortunately politically manipulated by all and sundry to the point that he ironically lost control of his own identity and values. When I see Goodes speak of his upbringing and family, of his coaches and mentors, his will to succeed, his discipline, his wanting to pass on his knowledge to the next generation and so forth, he strikes me as a decent person.
Unfortunately, what started out as a bit of a personal journey and some good intentions to give back to his community ended up in him becoming an indigenous version of the Manchurian candidate. He attracted political parasites that bombarded him with a false history and a heightened sense of racism and who fed off his celebrity in the pursuit of their own divisive political agenda. Sadly this experience ate away at his soul and poisoned his sense of perspective.
The biased documentary that covers this period in Goodes life is titled the “Final Quarter”. To my mind it is only three quarter time. How Goodes moves on from this period of his life is the final quarter. If he chooses to play the victim and wallow in the mire of identity politics he will undoubtedly lose.