Racism behind AFL banana row: Port

Port Adelaide have slapped an indefinite AFL ban on the woman who ignited a racism controversy by throwing a banana at indigenous star Eddie Betts.

The Power completed an investigation into the ugly incident after speaking with the club member on Sunday, concluding it was racially motivated.

Betts was targeted by the fan in Saturday night’s 15-point Showdown victory by the Crows at Adelaide Oval.

The supporter was seen waving her middle finger at Betts before throwing the banana in his direction.

Betts had just kicked his fifth goal in a near best-afield showing during his 250th AFL game, and did not notice the incident.

Port Adelaide chairman David Koch said before the club spoke with the woman that he’d be “absolutely disgusted” if racism was found to be the motivation.

“We’re a club, we’re an industry, we’re a code that doesn’t shirk away from these sorts of incidents,” he said.

“If it was racially motivated, not only would she be banned for life from the club, we would encourage her to come and sit with our players, our Aboriginal players and try to understand what these actions mean to them.”

The club also relied on testimony from Port Adelaide fans in the vicinity, who said her action was accompanied by racist sledging through the match.

The club said it would meet with the woman and offer her a chance to take part in the club’s Aboriginal cultural awareness programs, pointing out her act was completely at odds with its embrace of Aboriginal players and culture.

Port have more indigenous players on their list than any other AFL side, with a rich history of indigenous representation.

They confirmed their seven Aboriginal players, led by Chad Wingard, would be a part of a counselling process offered, while cancelling her membership.

Koch claimed support from Betts for the club’s educational approach.

“Eddie is not only an incredible football player but an amazing human being,” he said.

“He said ‘that’s exactly the thing that you should do’.

“He understands like us … that the lasting good, if any good can come from this, is to make sure no football crowd, no workplace, no family thinks this is acceptable behaviour.”

The AFL, Adelaide and Port Adelaide football clubs and Adelaide Oval management all released statements on Sunday condemning anti-social behaviour.

The call to action was led by Crows captain Taylor Walker, who tweeted his disappointment.

“Absolutely disgusting! Shouldn’t ever be allowed back into enjoy the football. Very disappointing,” he said.

The incident comes after much of the AFL’s 2015 season was marred by booing and racial vilification of Sydney’s indigenous star Adam Goodes.

Goodes, the 2006 Brownlow Medallist, retired at season’s end and declined a lap of honour on grand final day.

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