Adam Goodes – The Saviour

There is only one man I know – and one man alone – that can fix the currently out of control issue involving Adam Goodes.

His name is Adam Goodes.

At the moment the situation has the potential to deteriorate into a massive divide amongst many, many people with untold and possibly irretrievable damage. Needless to say the flow-on effect is with the most impressionable people in our lives – our children.

I will not stand by and witness the ridiculous pandemonium, the irresponsible accusations, the overreacting and the personal agenda’s from pedestals.  Nor will I will be intimidated by do-gooders on soap boxes clutching rosary beads, media representatives taking the moral high ground or people in positions of responsibility who feel the need to act now out of some sort of pathetic pressure from those around them.

For 150 years fans have preyed on players hoping to get a rise out of them. Most – and I mean nearly all of them – have not been seduced into responding, acknowledging or letting it outwardly affect them. If fans sense a hint of reaction they intensify their actions baying for blood.

Two things have struck me in relation to the Adam Goodes saga.

Firstly he is probably the first player I can remember that has taken obvious offence to the booing and reacted.

And secondly he has publicly denounced the people doing it and returned fire.

Both of these actions are like a red rag to a bull for regular footy fans.

I have no doubt there is now a small racist element taking advantage of the situation Adam finds himself in. For those people, I feel terribly sorry for you and offer you my deepest sympathy and disappointment that you think the way you think in this day and age.

For most of the fans booing I consider it to be as simply a reaction to the aforementioned circumstances coupled with the highlighted media frenzy attached to the situation.

Has Adam done anything wrong? Not as far as I am concerned. The only criticism I have of Adam is the manner in which he has dealt with the situation. It comes across to me that he is not taking enough responsibility or giving much consideration to his actions.

Let me say that I do not subscribe to the following negative accusations that are circling around the traps;

  • the way he plays & acts
  • having the 13 year old girl evicted from the stadium
  • being made Australian of the Year
  • Australian of the Year acceptance speech

None of these influence or affect my personal judgement of Adam Goodes, like all Australians he is entitled to his opinion and views. Whilst I did not agree with his speech in it’s entirety, I truly respected his courage and conviction in using the platform to heighten the awareness and focus on the debilitating indigenous situation in Australia.

What I am most interested in right now, is how he responds to the situation and what he makes of it. At the moment he is either deliberately or inadvertently dividing the nation and his advisers are unfortunately providing him with bad advice. This should not be about accusing every fan who boo’s Adam as a racist. We know that’s a ridiculous accusation, however that is where this is heading.

Adam Goodes is obviously a decent person, an incredibly gifted athlete and an outstanding Australian Rules footballer. He has the opportunity to pour water on this drastic, out of control bushfire and reduce it to a great lesson, an incredible gesture of compassion, understanding and empathy.

He will not only become the modern day hero and leader of the very proud indigenous people he represents so passionately but also the entire population of this country, and abroad. People greatly respect humility and taking responsibility – thats leadership.

Adam may not believe he has transgressed by his standards or morals but to understand the thinking of the people booing him and telling them he respects their view would be an incredibly magnanimous gesture that would catapult him to legendary status.  He should hold a press conference and he should say something like the following:

“I am terribly disappointed in the situation I find myself in. I want to take full responsibility for my actions that I understand have upset or even angered people within the community. Rest assured it was not intentional. I firmly and honestly believe that the fans booing me are not racist even though we must accept that racism is still a major issue in our country. I can appreciate some of the things I have done would upset and divide people within the footy community. I also recognise that by having a somewhat political stance on issues that are close to my heart and communicating those thoughts openly that I may disenfranchise some people who may not completely understand the situation I am talking about. I have learned a lot through this difficult time and I know it has made me a better, more compassionate and understanding Australian. I would dearly love to have a respected legacy from all Australians when I retire. Your contribution to me as a person and the game cannot be underestimated. I hope we can all come together for the greater good of this great game. Thank you.”

This has the potential to be a train crash for lots of people over a very long time.

Adam has the power to turn it around into a positive and provide the leadership we expect from an Australian of the Year – I know he has the courage.

26 thoughts on “Adam Goodes – The Saviour

  1. Great comment, that will be shouted down.It seems that a large number of commentators have developed pyscic ability and can read the minds of those who boo.
    Adam Goodes is a great player , but is not immune from from being disliked , simply because he is aboriginal.
    The booing increased once the opinion leaders read the mind of the crowd and confirmed it was racially motivated. They then lectured people on how to behave, therefore creating the red rag as you described.
    Maybe the racism lies in the minds of those who accuse others of it. They donot seem to be able to treat Adam as an individual first and foremost, and can only seem him as a stereotype Aboriginal spokesman.

    • Bang on doug. The real racism lies in those who believe adam goodes should be treated differently because he is aboriginal. That is the essence of racism. They insist people don’t boo because adam is indigenous. They treat him differently. Sam mitchell is booed every week but no one calls for that to stop. It is the noble savage argument.

  2. Why write a bullshit PC statement like that? Why not just come out and write:

    “Us indigenous. We’ve got huge chips on our shoulders but can any of you blame us? Whitey came here and shot us and took over our land. I’ve made good. I get more money off the white fella each year than most white fellas dream of earning. The problem is, I’m a footballer. It’s taught me to think I know a shitload more than I do, whereas most of us are dumb cunts. All we know in life is how to kick a Sherrin around. They call it having a footy brain. I should leave subjects I now nothing about alone.”

    I’d write more but the whole subject is too sickening.

  3. His doorstop interview the day after the infamous Collingwood game when it came out that the ape comment was made by a 13yo showed the height of “compassion, understanding and empathy” towards the girl concerned. Yet that chapter is now routinely represented as an illustration of him being a bully. (See Miranda Devine in the Daily Telegraph or listen to any talkback radio.)

    The irony of you writing an apology speech for him would be funny if it weren’t so lacking in judgment and missing the point that this episode has racism at its heart. Not the blunt form of racism that is defined by lynchings or death camps. But a subtler, yet still very destructive, form which singles him out as an “uppity” black man being uncompromising in his politics and making a white majority uncomfortable with its race history. Adam Goodes should not apologise for a sin that is the doing of others.

    • Respect your point of view David. You make valid points. I may be naive but I don’t see the same level of “subtler” racism you refer to. It’s not about who apologises, I’m looking at a bigger picture and more sustainable, mutually beneficial outcome.

  4. You’ve hit on the real problem – Goodes and his supporters (especially in the media) think that it’s not possible that Goodes could be disliked as a person – I mean he’s a champion foootballer! Aren’t all champion footballers loved by all? – so they can only conclude he’s booed because of the colour of his skin. I feel very sorry for him because he clearly thinks that any animus directed his way is racially motivated, which must be a terrible state of mind. Tolerance begins with understanding. Goodes and his supporters would do well to understand the people, rather than judge them and label them (harshly).

    • If the booing is all racial, why has it only recently become an issue? Goodes has been Aboriginal his whole career.

  5. Pingback: Adam Goodes – The Saviour | Thomo

  6. Using the racism argument when the intent of the crowd reaction is not race based only acts to lessen the effect of Adam’s great work in other areas. Adam, his club and his advisers have made the wrong call on this one. The old story… the boy that cried wolf.

  7. Both you and Murray Brust are very insightful in relation to this matter.

    I believe that Adam Goodes is a great footballer and I was not upset when he taunted the crowd with his “war dance”. I felt that he was stirring the opposition supporters on purpose and got the reaction that he was seeking. Since then though the media has contributed to inflaming the incident and Adam has been acting like an irritating squeaky wheel.

    How many other sports people have been booed or called names? Think of certain wrestlers who go out of their way to become the “baddie” in order to attract fans to their performances. How often do umpires get booed and called names? Do they go to the extremes that Adam Goodes has gone in dealing with the matter? Or have they learned what I was taught about 65 years ago, when I was about 8 years old, that “Sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you”. Maybe they also took on board Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote that “Nobody can hurt me unless I give them permission”.

    How many members of the crowd have been called names like, convicts, wharfies, wogs, snobs, whinging poms, abbos, dumb Irish, etc? Some may have reacted like Adam and others may have just laughed it off or given as good as they received, albeit with a smile on their face.

    Several years ago a young man asked my advice about how he could stop his brother from continually verbally abusing and demeaning him. I responded by suggesting that he should refrain from biting when his brother baited him and advising him that a fish will not get hooked if it does not take the bait. Anglers will also tire of fishing if fish do not respond to their attempts to catch them. It is surprising how quickly stirrers become bored when the subject of their stirring does not respond or just smiles at them.

    Hopefully this matter will all blow over soon and Adam will return to entertaining us with his athleticism for some time to come. [Even when he plays against my team :)]

    • John based on your comments, I can only presume you are in the majority of Australian’s… you know, an anglo Christian. I’ve heard these comments before, “tough it out”/”sticks and stones.” Easy to say from someone whose never had to deal with constant racism. You’ll never understand what its like to be made (potentially) to feel ashamed or embarrassed of yourself by society. I’ve heard the poor old white man claiming reverse racism, total rubbish. Its on a completely different scale and anyone who has had to deal with racism throughout their life would feel very differently.

      As a Jew growing up in Australia, I dealt with the usual comments at school and less frequently too this day, in adult life. I cannot imagine how bad things would be for Aboriginals, it must be horrible there’s simply no hiding it.

      • Thanks for your comments Joel. I agree the comments have subsided significantly over time. My experience in the circles I have mixed all my life is that Jews have been the butt of more deriding comments than indigenous people (significantly decreasing to very rare over the last 10 years). I have witnessed very few racist experiences against indigenous people. To that end football has been very beneficial to the situation against what may happen in other areas of the community.

  8. I agree with many of your idea’s Grant, while NOT agreeing with the ongoing level of booing of Adam Goodes. (And I know you don’t agree with that either.) It has just become moronic. That said I do agree that he has made this worse than it was by responding in ways that enflamed rather than just letting his footy skills do his talking for him. Sadly I believe it is now out of control.

    All that said, I do wonder how anyone could think the booing is racist. If it was, how come all Indigenous (or other non Anglo Saxon) players aren’t also routinely boo’ed? Sadly, I think Adam and others have jumped on the “it must be rascist because I am Indigenous” cop out rather than looking at his own actions and reactions over the last 2 years to see what has actually caused this issue.

    I have no issue with obviously rascist comments being jumped on and quashed. Bo’ing one player who has set himself up to be a target of reactions is not rascist….it is human nature to react when challenged. I believe Goode’s “spear dance” was a ridiculous way to show his pride and respond to the crowds. It did nothing except set up a “Me Versus the World” confrontation where the crowd only has one way to respond…..verbally boo’ing him. That is NOT rascist. That is normal human reaction. I think that “spear dance”, (despite all the apologists who tried to subsequently white wash it), was as confrontational as anything I have seen on a sporting field….and that includes the Maori Haka.

  9. ” I firmly and honestly believe that the fans booing me are not racist even though we must accept that racism is still a major issue in our country.”

    Racism a major issue? And right there you feed this lie that Australians are racist and you play into Goodes’ hands by supporting what he thinks and says about non-Aboriginal Australians. I’m so sick of this PC rubbish.

    Goodes is not a likeable person – people boo him as a result of his actions and views about the AFL watching public – the game that has given him a very good life.

    He sledged a 13 year old, and then took aim at Australians in his speech after being awarded (incorrectly) Australian of the year. When the fans reacted negatively to his views, and Instead of backing down, he doubled-up and did his spear throwing dance at the crowd. And the AFL management said and did nothing to admonish him. Then last week-end another Aboriginal Sydney player did the same dance at the crowd because they were booing Goodes. AFL? Nothing. No fine, no admonishment. It’s now a case of them against us. Good luck with that. Unless the AFL drops their PC attitude to Aboriginal players who act in this manner, the AFL will start dying a long, lonely death and the fans will desert the game. I don’t see many Aboriginals paying to watch the game.

  10. The problem with Adam is that and I admit it could be that he has bad advisor’s is that he’s just not a very good politician. We can’t all be good at everything and unfortunately for Adam perhaps a more quieter route would be better, mature a little more then come back into the public sphere. I don’t think it helped that as soon as he accepted his AoTYA he took the opportunity to advertise his desire for a post football career in the public space. It looked opportunistic and all of the sudden as if on queue he started to accuse all and sundry of being racist. Politics is about bringing the people along with you and i’m afraid Adam hasn’t done too well at that.

  11. I think that if Adam had the strength (and like you I think he does) to admit that the incident has hurt him enormously but further that he does not think that the majority of people are racist – the heat will go out of it, and the absolved majority will manage the few racist imbeciles in the crownd in the time honoured tradition.

    Right now I fear that ordinary stirrers confronted with being presumed and labelled racist are looking for any excuse (dirty player, stager, 13yo vilified etc.) to dislike the man. The vast majority of people are good but react defensively when they feel accused of something as vile as racism.

  12. What does it do to a millionaires footballers mind, to be surrounded by people insisting that the only reason anyone would ever dislike you was that they were racist? It can’t be healthy.

    It certainly doesn’t help when that “racism” is never actually seen. It is always described as “subtle” or somehow invisible at the “heart of the protests”. Oh, but Adam, it IS there. And that fact you can’t see it only means that it is more insidious and dangerous than if you could.

    All because some people want to think better of themselves, and so imagine others to be a lesser species to whom they can feel superior.

    It is ironic how accurately that sentence describes both the (exceedingly rare) genuine racists and Goodes’ supporters in the media.

  13. Grant, I played the game for over twenty years and been a spectator for nearly three times as long.
    I’m still scratching my head as to how the AFL has managed to wander this far unscathed.
    Why is it, if as a player you give the opposition crowd a “violent celebratory ” two fingered salute after a goal, that your hauled over the coals and fined five thousand dollars?
    Why is it if you demonstrate a throat slitting gesture to an opposition player who’s just cleaned up one of your own,your counciled and fined seven and a half thousand dollars?
    Why is it that if you point an imaginary gun into the crowd and “fire” your publicly admonished and disaplined by your club and not fined by the AFL? 
    And tell me, what would have the reaction have been if those pumped up Carlton supporters pointed imaginary guns back at Goodes in response to his spear throwing war dance?
    What if some of those pumped up supporters had jumped the fence and belted the beegeezus out of Goodes for “attacking” them with his imaginary spear?
    No what Goodes did was purely inflammatory and the AFL made mugs of us all by not doing its job.
    The AFL took three days to see which way the wind was blowing before comment.
    And when they did they simply made hypocrites of their organization and slapped the face of all those they had admonished and fined over the years for undisaplined acts towards the crowds. 
    Simply because of their collective fears of being branded racist.
    So I’ll ask you to ponder this.
    If a white player pointed an imaginary gun at an indigenous spectator in exuberant “celebration” of kicking a goal and pulled their imaginary trigger, done with all the theatre that Goodes mustered in his imaginary spear throwing “war dance”.
    What would the public reaction be?

    • Thanks for your comments Leigh.
      If you are waiting for the AFL to resolve issues you will be waiting for an eternity. They are the most political beast in the jungle and are only interested int heir own brand. They do not believe sincerely most stances they take – they are taken to appease people and protect brand. In essence they are gutless.

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