Goodes: the key questions


What is going on?

Sydney AFL great Adam Goodes has been relentlessly booed by sections of away crowds for a number of months.

When did it begin?

The booing is generally considered to have begun when Goodes called out a 13-year-old girl for labelling him an “ape” during a Sydney match against Collingwood in 2013, during the AFL Indigenous round.

The chorus of abuse intensified in May 2015 when Goodes performed a war dance goal celebration in the Indigenous round match against Carlton. Goodes defended his celebration, saying it was a representation of his heritage. Since then, heckling from AFL stands towards Goodes has been relentless.

What is the situation now?

Goodes has taken indefinite leave after struggling to cope with the persistent vitriol and also seeing it was affecting his teammates. There is no guarantee he will ever return.

Why is this happening?

The general consensus in the AFL community, from players to coaches and club CEOs, is that the booing directed at Goodes is racially motivated, as well as a form of protest against the Australian of the Year’s outspokenness on racism and Indigenous disadvantage and his readiness to promote his culture.

Others are far less sympathetic about Goodes’ plight. Conservative columnists across talkback radio and tabloid newspapers have called on Goodes should stop `playing the victim’ and carry on. Others have suggested the abuse stems from a perceived tendency to milk free-kicks on the footy field.

What happens next?

The Sydney club have said they are planning to show solidarity with Goodes during Saturday’s match against Adelaide at the SCG. Club officials and coaches across the AFL have implored fans to provide a respectful playing environment.

Richmond and Western Bulldogs will both wear their Indigenous round guernseys to show support for Goodes and his family.

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