Adam Goodes, who is a Sydney Swans forward and is Indigenous, was called an “ape” by a teenage spectator, Julia Surowka, as he ran past her in the encounter. Goodes then responded by stopping and pointing out the girl to the security members in the near vicinity, who then lead her from the stadium.
The match itself was actually supposed to be a celebration of Indigenous players, and Goodes was clearly taken aback by the words.
He told ABC, “To come to the boundary line and hear a 13 year old girl call me an ‘ape’, and it’s not the first time on a footy field that I’ve been referred to as a ‘monkey’ or an ‘ape’, it was shattering.”
Goodes then revealed that the girl later apologised to him, and he was understanding of her plight, stating, “It’s not her fault, she’s 13, she’s still so innocent, I don’t put any blame on her. Unfortunately it’s what she hears in the environment she’s grown up in that has made her think that it’s OK to call peoples names.”
The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, responded in praise to his actions, stating that it’s “something we can look up to.”
Talking to the Herald Sun, she said, “His words and actions today displayed the highest levels of respect and fairness, qualities he carries on and off the field.”
This isn’t the first time the sport has been drenched in a racism row, with St. Kilda player Winmar deciding to stand defiantly against abuse he received from the Collingwood crowd in 1993. Racism rows have also dominated other sports too, with Roma being fined for crowd abuse just a few weeks ago.
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