AFL boss Gill McLachlan has backed Lewis Jetta’s war dance in support of Sydney teammate Adam Goodes and called for the unprecedented and “sheep-like” booing of the dual Brownlow medallist to stop.
Jetta courted controversy on Sunday when he imitated throwing a make-believe spear towards West Coast fans moments after scoring in the final quarter of the Swans’ 52-point loss to the Eagles.
McLachlan said he had no problem with the emotion-charged dance and indicated the AFL would not be taking any action.
“He was supporting Adam, and I think we have to cut through the noise,” McLachlan told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Monday.
“I don’t believe this is about inciting the crowd, it was about a statement to support Adam who’s been habitually booed for many weeks now.”
McLachlan called on crowds to stop targeting Goodes, suggesting they no longer even understand why they’re doing it.
“I don’t know that we’ve ever had the issue that we have with Adam now about him being booed for 15 or 16 weeks,” he said.
“I do think there comes a point where we need to call out this behaviour and go enough’s enough.
“It is draining on Adam. This is something that’s not been going on for a few weeks, it’s months now.
“And I just don’t know that it reflects well on the game and people have had enough of it.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of different people and there are a lot of different attributes to why it started, and it’s now sheep-like behaviour and people don’t know why they’re doing it.”
Jetta explained his actions were a way of expressing his frustration over the constant booing that had been building up throughout the season.
“He’s a superstar of the game, a superstar for us the Swans. And fans need to show more respect for what he’s done for the game,” Jetta told the Swans website.
“All this booing and stuff needs to be thrown outside the window.”
Goodes said he was proud to know Jetta was acting in support of him during what has been “a continual battle”.
“It’s frustrating just to have all that bad energy targeted towards me,” he said.
“It’s disappointing. I’m coming towards the end of my career and if I leave the game this year and that’s the aftermath of my career then I’ll be really disappointed with that.”
Brisbane legend Jonathan Brown said the booing of Goodes is now “bordering on the edge of ridiculous”.
“It’s obviously got some racial connotations to it, we’ve got our head in the sand and we don’t think it does.
“But I think it’s more the polarising figure Adam Goodes has become since becoming Australian of the Year.
“He has promoted his cause for reconciliation, but there is a minority of the crowd that want to do it for racial reasons, others because they go for the opposite team, and others have just followed the leader.”