A Port Adelaide supporter who racially attacked indigenous Crows star Eddie Betts shouldn’t be banned for life, AFL officials say.
Port have banned the woman, aged in her mid-20s, from attending games indefinitely after she threw a banana at Betts on Saturday night.
The ban leaves the door ajar for her membership to be reinstated if she attends cultural awareness training, led by Port’s Aboriginal programs manager Paul Vandenbergh.
The program includes discussions with the club’s seven Aboriginal players on the effect discriminatory policies have had on Aboriginal people.
“I think indefinite is a good opportunity,” Vandenbergh said on Monday.
“There’s no use banning someone for life and not giving them an opportunity to be educated, and that’s what all of our programs have always been about.”
Adelaide chief executive Andrew Fagan and captain Taylor Walker are among those who have called for the Power supporter to be banned for life.
But AFL boss Gillon McLachlan backed Port’s handling of the incident.
“They’ll make a decision about continuing with the ban at the end of that process and I think that’s fair and appropriate,” McLachlan said.
“The ability to judge remorse and account contextually comes into that.
“In the end, people have to be accountable for their behaviours.”
Port chairman David Koch had promised the woman would receive a lifetime ban if her attack on Betts was found to have been racially motivated but later softened his language.
He told FIVEaa radio the club did not want to “crucify” the young woman, who has faced intense media scrutiny.
The woman spoke briefly to club officials on Sunday and has arranged to meet with them at Port’s Alberton Oval headquarters on either Monday or Tuesday.
Betts did not attend a Crows recovery session on Sunday and has since kept a low profile but spoke to Adelaide chief Fagan over the phone.
“He was doing OK,” Fagan told ABC radio.
“He was in pretty good spirits.
“I’ve no doubt that he considers these sorts of incidents deeply offensive to him and his people but he’s a resilient character and I think he’ll be looking to move on pretty quickly.”
Port defender Matthew Broadbent said he was shocked and disappointed by the attack.
“That sort of behaviour isn’t acceptable in normal society and especially at a game of footy where you want a family friendly environment,” he said.